Sunday, July 25, 2010

Minimum auto fare may hit 20

Minimum auto fare may hit 20
Most Drivers’ Unions Reject 3 Hike

Bangalore: If you thought the hike in auto fares announced by the government on Friday was bad, worse could be around the corner. From August 1, the minimum fare was set to be Rs 17 with Rs 8.50 for every kilometre thereafter. But, barring one union which agreed to this increase, others plan to meet transport minister R Ashoka on Monday to press for Rs 20 as the minimum fare.
On Saturday, over 300 drivers from Autorickshaw Drivers Organisations United Struggle Committee protested at the Gandhi statue on MG Road demanding a revision of the fare structure. K N Umesh, vice-president of Autorickshaw Drivers Union (CITU) said: “We had demanded that Rs 20 be made the minimum but the DC announced that it’ll be Rs 17 minimum and Rs 8.50 per km thereafter.”
Bangalore Urban DC and chairman of Regional Transport Authority (RTA) M K Aiyappa on Friday announced the fare hike. And it’s not just about the fare structure. C Sampath, general secretary of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union said: “While we’re not completely happy with the fare revision, there is this issue of single piece windshield. There are many drivers who can’t afford Rs 5,000 to change it. We’re urging the government to reverse the decision.’’
PROPOSED REVISION FROM AUG 1 Rs 17 minimum fare for the first 2 km Rs 8.5 per km thereafter Waiting charge is free for 5 minutes and Re 1 for every 15 minutes thereafter Luggage charge free upto 20 kg and Rs 2 for every 20 kg thereafter Maximum luggage limit allowed is 50 kg Night fare chargeable is one-and-ahalf times the meter fare Night fare chargeable only from 10 pm to 5 am Autorickshaw drivers flare up over new fare
Bangalore: Protests by members of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) auto unit over the revision in auto fares announced by the government, took a violent turn on Saturday. About 15 persons poured kerosene on themselves and tried to immolate themselves. But policemen stopped them in time and removed them from the spot.
There was chaos as several protesters tried to attack the policemen. Some smashed windowpanes and this forced the police to resort to a lathi-charge to disperse them. Police said these men hadn’t even taken permission for their protest.
N Kumar, president, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) auto unit, said: “There hasn’t been a fare revision during the past two years and there will not be a revision for the next two years. We urge the government to consider the minimum fare to be Rs 20. Several drivers are struggling to eke out a decent income. The additional burden of installing a single-piece windshield will cost them Rs 5,000.’’
There has been a difference of opinion among unions themselves over the fare revision. During the meeting with the DC, Md Abbas, president of the Federation of Auto Unions Joint Committee said the fare hike was agreeable to them, other union members protested and assaulted him.
M Manjunath, president, Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers Union, said: “There are differences among us. All the eight major auto unions are demanding the revision be reconsidered and it should be made Rs 20 and Rs 10 for every kilometre after that.’’
According to a union member, autorickshaw drivers from the association of Abbas mainly operate in Shivajinagar and Majestic bus stand area. “In those areas, they don’t go by any fare structure. The commuter has to pay whatever the driver demands. So, they don’t really need a fare revision,’’ he said. Abbas was not reachable for comment on Saturday. According to unions, he was undergoing treatment in a private hospital. FARE OR FOUL?
Do they even think of the common man when they take such decisions? The petrol price hike has already made life difficult for us; everything has become costly. Now, autos are following suit. Buses are an alternative option, but they don’t take you everywhere. For short distances, we depend on autos — Rajeev Ghosh


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