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Auto-rickshaw fares in Delhi may soon be hiked by up to 35%

Auto-rickshaw fares in Delhi may soon be hiked by up to 35%: on Monday, in Delhi, the Auto-rickshaw rides are all set become more expensive with Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi’s chief minister, giving an in-principle approval to a new fare slab structure, while, meeting with representatives of various auto drivers’ unions, as per the officials familiar with the developments.

although the Delhi government will set up a committee to formalise the new fares which can have them approved by the State Transport Authority (STA), Kejriwal told about 500 auto-rickshaw drivers is all set to charge Rs 25 for the first kilometre, followed by Rs 10 of each subsequent kilometre.

At present, the auto fare is Rs 25 for the first two kilometers and Rs 8 for every subsequent kilometre.

This will amount to an increase of about 35% for a distance of five kilometers, which is around, nearly 30% for a distance of 10 kilometres (see box).

In May, 2013, the Fares were last increased by the then Congress government led by Sheila Dikshit.

Delhi has 98,000 registered auto-rickshaws, and those drivers are regarded as the a strong vote bank for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national Capital. all through the 2014 and 2015 assembly elections, they had campaigned widely for this party.

Kailash Gahlot, the Transport minister, has also confirmed that the Delhi government had considered the demands of auto-rickshaw unions which also gives nod to hike fares. “Yes, there will be a fare revision soon. The government will formally set the new fare slabs through a committee. The process of appointing the committee has already started. It will submit its report within a month. After this, the recommended fares will be sent to the STA for final approval,” Gehlot said.

The committee will also decide if waiting rates required to be added to the fare in addition to the distance covered. The file is all set to send to the Delhi lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal for approval also.

Though the government and the L-G have differed on various schemes, officials in the government said they are very sure for the recommendations would go through in light of a recent Supreme Court order that, they said, which also make this very clear that the governance issues other than land, public order and policing were the government’s jurisdiction will be done.

once in 2016, The Kejriwal government had attempted to revise fares, but the plan was rolled back post the auto-rickshaw unions opposed an increase in fares because that was the time from which they were facing fresh competition from app-based taxi aggregators.

During Monday’s meeting with the chief minister, several auto unions demanded a fare hike citing which can also increase in CNG rates and higher maintenance cost. “Around 500 auto drivers were called by the CM to discuss the fare system. Ninety per cent of those present agreed to increasing the rates, while the remaining opposed it saying they would lose more business as cab aggregators could reduce their minimum rates further. The CM went with the majority and told them that the rates will be revised,” said Upender Singh, treasurer of Aapka Apna Auto Taxi Union, that is consisting of the 500 drivers appointed as ‘in-charge’ by AAP at auto stands in the whole nation. A representative of the union did not give exact figures on how many members will be part of it or will be have it.

Soon after the government gives nod with the demands of auto drivers, taxi unions also demanded that fares be increased. “The rate of economy radio taxis was also last increased in June, 2013. If auto fares are hiked, we demand our rates go up too. At present, an economy radio taxi costs Rs 12.5 per kilometre. Business has taken a hit after the boom of taxi aggregators in the city,” said by the president of Rajdhani Parivahan Panchayat, Inderjeet Singh.

Experts said a hike in fares may not necessarily be a good thing as this can put passengers off autos. “People now opt for auto-rickshaws only for short distances or to travel to places where other modes such as metro or Ola/Uber (cabs) are not available. The government should do a fare elasticity demand study for deciding the rates. And if rates are increased, then it should ensure drivers do not refuse any passenger and that they all go by the metre,” said by the head of the department, transport and planning, Sanjay Gupta, at the School of Planning and Architecture.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijender Gupta and Congress’s Ajay Maken said pricing for autos must follow a uniform policy in order to make sure to support all kinds of transport — metro, e-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws — coexist.

“Interest of auto drivers and users should be taken care of equally. The policy should be created with balanced approach,” said by Gupta, who is also the lead of the opposition in the Delhi assembly.

Maken said a fare hike is not the single way actually to encourage autos. “It is not only the fare that concerns the drivers and general public; the government has to take holistic view and also consider the need of different segments of users,” he told.