Taxi, auto travel to pinch pockets

Expensive

State government hikes fares for second time in 2012.

Your commute just got expensive. The state government approved on Friday a steep hike of Rs 2 and Rs 3 in minimum fares for taxis and auto-rickshaws in the city, effective October 11. The night charge too has been increased from 25 per cent to 30 per cent above the regular.

The decision by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) is based on recommendations of the one-man PMA Hakim committee formed in April to come up with fresh fare formulae for auto-rickshaws and taxis. The committee suggested a hike of Rs 3 in minimum fares for both.

The minimum fare for taxis will now be Rs 19, instead of Rs 17, while the fare for every additional kilometre will increase from Rs 10.50 to Rs 12.50. The minimum fare for cool cabs goes up to Rs 23 from Rs 21 and for every additional kilometre, you will have to pay Rs 15.50, instead of Rs 13.

In response, taxi unions decided to call off a strike planned from Monday.

"We accept the decision but with protest as they have given us just a Rs 2 hike whereas auto-rickshaws have been Rs 3," said Anthony Quadros of Mumbai Taximens Union.

Auto-rickshawallahs, on the other hand, were happy with the increase in minimum fare from Rs 12 to Rs 15 and the Rs 7.12 to Rs 10 rise for every additional kilometre.

"We had asked them (MMRTA) in a letter two days ago to consider cost of living and decide hike, which they have done," said Shashank Rao of Mumbai Autorickshawmens Union.

MMRTA also accepted the Hakim committee recommendation to reduce the distance for minimum fare to 1.5 km from 1.6 km.

"A revised tariff card will be made available to all drivers and owners through unions. All auto-rickshaws and taxis are required to get meters recalibrated within 45 days. All taxis and vehicles should also have identity cards of drivers displayed prominently," the office of the chief minister said in a statement.

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