Sunday, February 17, 2008

Electronic fare meters for autorickshaws, taxis proposed

Electronic fare meters for autorickshaws, taxis proposed

Staff Reporter

Proposal to cover eight city corporations

in State

Digital meters work on software which is tamper proof: Transport Department

BANGALORE: The State Government is considering an amendment to the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules to make it mandatory for autorickshaws and taxis operating in eight city corporation limits, including Bangalore, to install electronic digital fare meters.

The move follows a proposal from the Transport Department to amend Rule 130 of the KMV Rules which deals with fare meters. The department has also forwarded a draft preliminary notification to invite suggestions and objections from people likely to be affected by the amendment.

This rule is already in force in Bangalore for new autorickshaws since 2004 and nearly 40,000 of the 80,000 autorickshaws are fitted with digital fare meters. However, old vehicles continue to have mechanical fare meters.

A senior official in the secretariat told The Hindu that the proposal was being considered by the officials concerned. While the proposal was sent in December last, certain clarifications sought by the Government were submitted by the department recently.

In its proposal, the department said that autorickshaws and taxis permitted to operate in city corporation limits of Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Bellary, Gulbarga, Shimoga, Bellary and Mangalore, shall be fitted with electronic digital fare meters, approved by the Legal Metrology Forum, New Delhi. In other places, installation of digital meters are optional.
Tamper proof

The department noted that mechanical fare meters being used in autorickshaws and taxis are not tamper proof. The Bangalore Traffic Police have written to the department that the police have been receiving a large number of complaints with regard to tampering of fare meters, it said.

On the other hand, the digital meters, being manufactured by three companies in the State, are tamper-proof, it noted. To ascertain the claims of manufacturers, the department had arranged a demonstration where attempts were made to tamper the meter. The meter exhibited an announcement “Tampered” during the demonstration. Unlike the mechanical meters, digital meters work on the basis of software, which cannot be tampered with, the department claimed.
Seeking subsidy

A digital fare meter costs Rs. 3,500 while a mechanical one costs Rs. 1,000. While the State has 2.5 lakh autorickshaws, nearly two lakh vehicles operating in the eight city corporation limits need to be fitted with digital meters.

The Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Association has said that drivers and owners of these vehicles are unable to bear the cost and sought a subsidy as well as a loan. While half of the meter cost should be in the form of subsidy, the rest should be in the form of a soft loan, the association urged.

The Bangalore Urban District Regional Transport Authority, while revising autorickshaw fares in its meeting on January 30, had endorsed the department’s proposal and urged the government to act on the proposal speedily.


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