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Thread: Autofare-Tamilnadu

  1. Autofare-Tamilnadu

    Hi all,

    I met an Autowala today morning, in Chennai, who told me half-a-dozen stories, which i want to share with you.

    Here it goes...
    1) Auto meter problem.
    TN Govt has asked all auto owners to change to electronic meters, instead of mechanical ones. My friend has got a new meter from a local company, for 5k, which is ISI certified and showed me the guarentee cards. But jsut after 5 days of purchase, the rates started jumping... I witnessed it, usually for 9 KMs, meter charges would be 56/-, but in his machine, it was 275/- He says, electronic meters are a problem because, the magnetic effect in the auto parts would damage the meter. But i think, before issuing such a circular to all, the ministry people would have sure thought about this...

    2) He is in a union and they have lodged a legal complaint against the meter manufacturing company and the govt circular, stating that this meter wont suit for the road/temperature conditions in Chennai.
    But he says including the court officials, everybody are scared to act against govt, even though they know what the actual problem is.
    They had got a stay order to this GO, which was later broken by cheating them.

    There are many such issues regarding Autowala's permit issuing delay, asking all of them to change to Gas instead of Petrol(would cost 15k for this), without having enough cylinder supplies in bunks, breaking the stay order that the autowala's union has got by utilising their signatures in the meeting minutes...

    The auto wala wants to charge people based on meter and wants to work with morality. But says, the Govt is against their interests and nowadays issuing many contradicting GOs with a wrong motive... I have heard similar views from other auto drivers too. I don't know whether RTI can help them anywhere... If so, please suggest some ideas wherein it would be helpful for them and the common man.

  2. re: Autofare-Tamilnadu


    To me it sounds like this particular autowala has taken you for a real ride with his stories. Being a resident of Chennai for the last three decades, I have had the opportunity of observing their modus operandi, over various points of time. Before the concept of meter-tampering came into vogue, they used to take the passengers on circuitous routes, just to earn more money. Then they adopted the ploy of tampering the mechanical meters to suit their needs.

    Based on a PIL filed by the Madras Auto Passengers Association, the Madras High Court ordered during the year 2002, the fixing of electronic meters that cannot be tampered with. From your post it appears that these automen have attempted tampering the electronic meters too and that should be the reason for the malfunctioning and not some imaginary magnetic effect of the auto parts or the engine.

    As soon as the new minimum rate of Rs.14/- for the first 2kms was announced by the government early this year, the various associations of auto drivers were quick to condemn it as unfair, inadequate and unacceptable. But in the neighbouring states, for the same rate (or even lesser), autos are run without the passenger getting fleeced in any manner. Only in Tamilnadu, the sauce for the goose is never sauce for the gander.

    As for as Tamilnadu is concerned, it is the indifference of the successive govt.s that has led to this situation. The govt has given up any semblance of regulation and overlooks the extortion by the auto drivers. One reason could be that most of these autos are owned by politicians, cops and govt officials in benami names.

  3. #3
    C J Karira
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    re: Autofare-Tamilnadu

    Here are Auto woes from Hyderabad...just for info !

    Hey! Auto

    Few buses. Fewer trains. Result? Increasing dependence on autos. But, authorities have placed a freeze on them over the last five years even as Hyderabad metamorphosed into Greater Hyderabad and the number of auto users has fast outpaced the number of autorickshaws, says Roli Srivastava

    <!----> <!---->Astrange evening ritual has started occurring outside city offices of late. As the sun sets, a few people huddle together, all eyes fixed on the road waiting for an elusive black and yellow object — the autorickshaw. When the awaited moment does finally arrive and an autorickshaw does stop, the excitement is palpable. The auto driver rejects one destination after the other much like a CEO scoffing at B-grade vacation destinations. He picks the guy living the farthest and who also promises him half return. The rest continue to wait a rather endless wait.
    <!----> <!---->That this is the plight of hundreds of auto commuters every day has not really registered on city authorities. They maintain that Hyderabad has more autos than it needs and for this reason it stopped issuing licenses to new autos five years ago. More autos would mean more congestion and pollution, explain officials.
    <!----> <!---->So, in the year 2002, the number of autos in the city was 68,000 and has remained the same to date. Incidentally, vehicular population in the city has gone up by 50 per cent in the last five years.
    <!----> <!---->If the term ‘formative years’ could be applied to cities, then the last five years would qualify as Hyderabad’s defining years, when the city has undergone the most significant changes. It has expanded and has attracted thousands of job seekers. It has also become ‘greater’ and ‘happening’, words coined by governing bodies to describe Hyderabad’s fast changing image — from a small city to a bustling cosmopolitan metro.
    <!----> <!---->But, the irony of it all seems to be lost on the powers to be or those coining these words.
    <!----> <!---->For, the average auto-ridden Hyderabadi, the services in greater and happening Hyderabad have only deteriorated with time. Commuting has only worsened with the city’s progress. “Hyderabad could well be the land of jobs, but one with no appropriate transport to reach work,’’ says B Murty, a harried commuter who stopped taking his bike from Begumpet to Hi-Tech City to avoid the backbreaking traffic snarls. Fed up of waiting for autos and haggling with them endlessly, he tried MMTS but the poor frequency of trains forced him to relocate to Kondapur.
    <!----> <!---->Commuters in the city are indeed star-crossed when it comes to their luck with three-wheelers. While Murty says moving to Kondapur brought forth yet another reality—no auto plies with a meter even in broad daylight in that area—others point out that the once preferred locations in the city have now lost their sheen, at least as far as preferences of auto drivers are concerned.
    <!----> <!---->“Earlier, I would easily get an auto for Jubilee Hills, where I stay, if I missed the office shuttle. Now, every evening when I leave office there is not a single auto in sight. The ones I find are not willing to come. If they do agree, they demand extra,’’ says IT professional R Balaji. He adds that it is a daily ritual of waiting for about half an hour to 45 minutes haggling with auto drivers to take him home. “How can they call Hyderabad an IT hub, the country’s IT destination with such poor facilities where there is absolute no transport to move around the city after 8 pm,’’ he asks.
    <!----> <!---->Those commuting on the now infamous Nagarjuna Circle—Begumpet stretch, synonymous with traffic jams, are the worst-hit with most autos declining to ply on this section. “Over the last one year, the waiting period for an auto has increased from a few minutes to about an hour. There are fewer autos and none want to go to Begumpet,’’ says Begumpet resident Sreelatha Nambiar.
    <!----> <!---->In other cities, autos are an intermediary mode of transport unlike Hyderabad where one needs them to commute between two ends of the city, says a senior traffic police official. He adds that the problem is largely due to this absence of a transport facility that would connect all parts of the city. Autos would then be needed only for short distance commutes.
    <!----> <!---->Auto unions (about 11 of them here) say that more autos could have plied here had the Ranga Reddy district autos been allowed into Hyderabad city limits. While officials say these autos have been allowed in the city, albeit sparingly, A Ravi Shankar, state general secretary of AP Auto Taxi Drivers Union, says that the permits for the same have not been renewed in the last two years.
    <!----> <!---->So what is the solution to ease woes of Hyderabad’s auto commuters? While auto users would think increasing the number of autos is the perfect solution to the problem, officials disagree, saying that autos would only increase congestion on the already congested roads and compound the city’s pollution problem. They prescribe additional buses to solve the problem.
    <!----> <!---->But, given that auto users would prefer buying their own vehicle, as is evident from the growth in four- and twowheeler population in the city, would buses be able to contain the increasing traffic problem? “CNG autos can be a possible solution. Having more autos would help commuters better. There are some routes where buses will not ply such as short distances,’’ says civic activist Bharat Bhushan. Air conditioned buses too can be considered as an option as they have been implemented even in Bangalore.
    <!----> <!---->However, he adds that pollution needs to be checked, old autos should be removed from the roads, new better designed and environment-friendly autos should be introduced. “After all, the dependence on autos is a clear indicator that public transport has failed in the city. But, arbitrarily increasing numbers without phasing out old ones will only add to the traffic problem,’’ Bhushan says. But this option is not being considered even remotely by the authorities.Officials say that increasing autos is not the solution and buses are the city commuters’ only hope. “When we stopped issuing licenses, there were more autos in the city than it needed. The number of autos is more than the requirement even now,’’ the joint transport commissioner C L N Gandhi makes this incredulous claim. He adds that the department has not received any such requirement from the public in general to increase the number of autos plying in the city. (Is the public supposed to write to Gandhigaru? We did not know that) “Moreover, more autos would only choke the roads and is not a solution to the problem but increasing buses is as they can accommodate more people. One bus can take care of 60 commuters, whereas you would need 60 autos for the same number of people,’’ he says.
    <!----> <!---->A total of 103 new buses will be rolled out into the city by June end, Suresh Kumar, city regional manager, RTC, claims. While 505 buses will be joining the city fleet of RTC buses this financial year, most of them would be given out for hiring by private operators.
    <!----> <!---->But whether these buses would ply on routes that are most affected by the absence of autos remains to be seen as the routes have not yet been finalised. Over the last one year, 39 new buses have been added to the city’s roads. Moreover, it is unlikely that auto travellers would look at buses as a viable option, given the state of buses.
    <!----> <!---->“We have recently started a new bus connecting Safilguda with Vanenburg IT park taking the Begumpet, Punjagutta and LV Prasad route. For now, one bus will make three trips in the morning and another three in the evening,’’ Suresh Kumar says. Gandhi adds that as suggested by the Bhurelal committee report, about 200 buses will be added to the city’s roads every year for the next four years, until Metro Rail is launched. Moreover, with Hyderabad now becoming Greater Hyderabad, the bordering municipalities would melt into the city and those autos too will ply here. “In all, there will be 98,000 autos in the city,’’ he says.
    <!----> <!---->Until then, commuters can continue to wait and watch out for the yellow and black object in the hope that one day reaching home won’t be as nightmarish an experience.


    <!----> <!---->Commuters are rarely off the mark when they point out that an auto meter runs as if it is competing for an Olympic gold! Some 60 to 70 per cent of the autos in the city have tampered meters, according to consumer activist Rajam Ganesam, also member of the transport department’s Digital Meter Fixation Committee.
    <!----> <!---->According to the transport department’s own calculations, Hyderabadis pay Rs 5 lakh extra per day as auto fare because of tampered auto meters. Over the last few days, over 50 cases of tampered auto meters have been caught, according to Tejdeep Kaur Menon, controller, legal metrology department.
    <!----> <!---->It was due to such reasons that the transport authorities had decided to make digital meters mandatory. “In digital meters, the customer can see the distance travelled and if the meter is tampered with it is easy to detect,’’ Ganesam says.
    <!----> <!---->However, the auto owners had protested the move and said they would be forced to buy these expensive meters, their cost ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000. Auto unions had argued that there was no reason to install new meters and that the government could punish the errant auto drivers who tamper their meters.
    <!----> <!---->Nevertheless, the digital meter committee is touring cities that have implemented these meters already and study their functioning. “The committee is also looking at how tamper proof are digital meters,’’ says C L N Gandhi, joint transport commissioner.
    <!----> <!---->But, when these meters will be installed remains uncertain. The committee has visited Bangalore so far and is now scheduled to visit Trivandrum in June. It would then submit its findings to the transport department that would subsequently implement the digital meter rule. “Once this report comes, further steps will be taken,’’ promises Gandhi.
    <!----> <!---->RS
    <!----> <!---->
    DIAL 1074 FOR <!----> <!---->HELP <!----> <!---->

    Don’t expect a rescue van with a siren screaming through the traffic to come to your aid when you dial the transport department’s helpline ‘1074’ to complain about an auto driver over-charging you or hurling abuses at you. But, you could still call and register a complaint as officials claim 100 per cent redressal of grievances aired by commuters.
    <!----> <!---->This helpline receives about 200 complaints a month from consumers who have faced problems with autos, most complaints being about refusal to ply and tampered meters.
    <!----> <!---->Officials say that all complaints are addressed, albeit not always immediately. “The auto numbers are registered into our system. When the auto owner comes to pay tax or for fitness renewal, a fine would be charged. Until he pays the fine, no transaction is possible,’’ says Gandhi, adding that all complaints do lead to a result but it takes time.
    <!----> <!---->Consumer activist Rajam Ganesam believes that wider publicity needs to be given to this helpline number and people should be encouraged to file written complaints. “Consumers too have a responsibility. They should file complaints in writing,’’ Ganesam suggests, so that matters are taken more seriously.

    From: TOI , Wednesday, 29th May 2007, Hyderabad Edition

  4. re: Autofare-Tamilnadu

    Quote Originally Posted by ganpat1956 View Post
    To me it sounds like this particular autowala has taken you for a real ride with his stories. Being a resident of Chennai for the last three decades, I have had the opportunity of observing their modus operandi, over various points of time.
    Ganpat Ji,

    Nowadays whenever i take autos, i ask them, when are they going to ply with meters ON?? They stare me as if am an alien(you can imagine very well !) and say - "You are the first person asking about meter... People are not bothered, they pay whatever we demand, why the hell are you questioning??..."
    Yesterday i came accross a person, who agreed for a trip for a particular price, but later, 2 kms before the destinations, started arguing that i didnt mention the place properly and i should get down there itself otherwise, i should pay him more...
    I told him, yes, first you go to my office, then we will talk about the extra pay. Hoping for some more money, he came till my office, but was scolding me all through the way. (I didnt have any other choice and was getting late already!). As soon as i reached the office, just before the security gate, (got some courage that i am under the security blanket now), i paid him whatever we agreed for before, not even a penny more. He started yelling at me that i cheated him and threatened me, i can never take an auto hereafter... etc...

    I didnt care much, i knew he was already HOT and talking any further would cause personal embarassment to me. So i cooly walked in the office. I know the vehicle reg no, know the persons name, but is there a way where i could lodge a complaint against him? Generally all the autowalas say - they are never going to charge by meters and this can never happen in TN. After the recent GO, fixing minimum rates with electronic meters mandatory, i was hoping that at last, autos in Chennai could be reliable.

    Reg my previous post, i came across another vehicle with the same manufacturer's meter, which was not working properly... This company has got ISI mark too, God knows how they got it !!!
    Last edited by Latha Ramesh; 04-06-07 at 02:52 PM.

  5. re: Autofare-Tamilnadu


    Quote Originally Posted by Latha Ramesh View Post

    I know the vehicle reg no, know the persons name, but is there a way where i could lodge a complaint against him? Generally all the autowalas say - they are never going to charge by meters and this can never happen in TN. After the recent GO, fixing minimum rates with electronic meters mandatory, i was hoping that at last, autos in Chennai could be reliable.
    Earlier the traffic police department had a provision for accepting complaints through post(intended for the travelling public who leave Chennai), on the basis of which actions were taken. I will check up if it is still prevailing and let you know about it.

    Regarding your hopes on the recent GO, as long as the state govt lacks the political will to implement its own order, travelling public in Tamilnadu will get exploited by the automen of Tamilnadu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Latha Ramesh
    i came across another vehicle with the same manufacturer's meter, which was not working properly... This company has got ISI mark too, God knows how they got it !!!
    Simple!!! The meter obviously was in a good condition when it came out of the factory. Subsequent attempt to tamper it has caused the malfunction. By the way, have you ever heard of a malfunctioning electronic meter in call taxis? That is because they are never tampered with.

  6. #6
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    re: Autofare-Tamilnadu

    M/s Latha Ramesh and ganpat1956
    The Auto drivers in Tirunelveli (my native town), Madurai and Chennai where I am a regular visitor for my Profession used to engage autos. Invariably most of the auto drivers are not operating the meter at all and demanding unreasonable fare.. Due to urgency and necessity I am engaging the autos paying huge amount.
    I have made so many complaints also to the Regional Transport Authority, Police Official which yielded no postitive result. As read in your post most of the autos are owned by the Police and RTA Officials and further the auto owners are regular subscribers to the Supervisory Officials, and hence we the public is in a compelled position to pay the highest/ unreasonable amount. We have to Plan to seek another Independance through the weapon RTI Act, 2005. We will win.
    Balu A.

  7. #7

    Re: Auto fare in Chennai

    Hai Good morning everybody.

    Tamilnadu especially Chennai/Coimbatore/Trichy/Madurai auto travel is the most horrifying and worry some matter for everybody . The Police is a mere spectators to the worst behavior of auto men and no body seems to be cared for to regulate them. No Regulatory action is implemented till date. The statutory provision of meter and fare fixation is a matter of routine. It is also said that more than 50% of autos are owned by policemen. Are policemen exempted from traffic rules, and why police is not taking any action. If one can take a survey, not even 5% of autos are run as per rules with meter. I request suggestions and expert guidance to set right autos in Tamilnadu, first begin with Chennai.

    Last edited by DineshK; 15-11-09 at 09:29 PM. Reason: email removed

  8. re: Autofare-Tamilnadu

    For setting this right, political will is required. RTI will not be of much use here. Already a few cases are pending in the HC on this issue. Please think over if you can implead yourself as an affected party and stae your views to the court.
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.

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