Ibrahim Yusuf Patel is looking forward to investing in his two kindergartners’ future. The 47-year-old driver who plies his auto between Kurla and Bandra-Kurla Complex is hopeful of taking home more pay each day in the wake of the hike in fares of autos and taxis announced by the government. “Usually, I take home Rs600-650 from the Rs800-850 I make everyday. Now, I will be able to save more,” he smiles.
Asked if the hike will bring down instances of fare refusals, meter-tampering and overcharging, Patel sounds optimistic. “Those who refuse to ply short distances will earn more through such trips. Drivers will, therefore, prefer to ferry such passengers. Also, e-meters in autos will scotch any possibility of tampering.”
Several auto and taxi drivers share Patel’s enthusiam. They expect that the substantial hike in fares, coupled with the compulsory shift to e-meters, will cut down instances of tampering, overpricing and arbitrary fare refusals. Mohammad Wasim, who runs his auto in the eastern suburbs, however, doesn’t feel that the hike will bring down fare refusals. “Drivers do not refuse [to ply short distances] because they want to earn more by travelling far. Some travel only between two specific areas because they belong to a group or stay close by.”
Musa Sheikh, who runs his taxi in south-central Mumbai, says, “Now, the hike does away with the necessity to tamper with meters.”