National Capital’s Auto fares to be expected to hiked by 14.3%: As per the report submitted to the Delhi government by a state-appointed fare revision committee, Auto-rickshaw charges in the national Capital may possibly go up by as much as 14.3%. In advance of the Lok Sabha elections, the 11-member committee has suggested that auto-rickshaw fares in the national capital be raised to ₹9.15 per kilometre as contrary to the current rate of Rs 8 per km.
On the other hand, the commission was made in November last year has not acclaimed any change in the even rate of Rs 25 that is charged for the first two kilometers on every single auto-rickshaw drive.
A member of the committee said, “As per the formula used initially, we had estimated an increase of 50 paise per kilometre. But, later the committee agreed that auto drivers should be brought under the category of ‘skilled labour’. So, to include their wage earning, the rate was finally set at Rs 9.15 per kilometre. At present, TSR drivers are considered unskilled”.
The commission’s report is now going to be reviewed by the transport minister, Kailash Gahlot, after which the ultimate rates would be sanctioned.
Earlier, the Auto fares were last raised in the month of May, 2013 by the then Congress government headed by Sheila Dikshit.
There are about 98,000 registered auto-rickshaws in the city which has the strong vote base of the Aam Aadmi Party. Confronted with hard rivalry from app-based cab aggregators in the city, the Kejriwal government had tried to study auto fares once in 2016, but the strategy was turned back after auto-rickshaw unions conflicted any alteration in fares.
On Sunday, auto-rickshaw unions said the board’s approval is not in sync with the undertaking made by the AAP government last year.
Santosh Pandey, president of Aapka Apna Auto Taxi Union, said “In July last year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had himself met representatives of auto unions and given in-principle approval to our demand of revising the rate to Rs 25 for the first kilometre, followed by Rs 10 for each subsequent kilometre. We will meet transport minister Kailash Gahlot and request for a review”.
An additional group member said that the panel has not suggested any modification in the fares of RTVs, gramin sewas, Metro feeder buses, eco-friendly cabs and maxi cabs. Charges of these public transport vehicles were last reread in November 2009. Operatives of these modes of transport on Sunday threatened to go on strike if their fares continue unaffected.
“We had submitted our demand of increasing the rates. There has been no revision in almost a decade. There are 8,675 such vehicles in total and the Aam Aadmi Party would face the music in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections if our demands are not heard,” said Shyam Lal Gola who is the general secretary of the State Transport Authority (STA) Operators’ Ekta Manch.