The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) in a meeting on Friday decided to submit the fare hike figures to Bombay high court to get a no-objection from HC, which is already hearing a case against a previous fare hike given to autorickshaws and taxis.
While state transport officials refused to confirm the hiked rates before submission to HC, sources said MMRTA has decided on a hike of Rs2 for both taxis and autorickshaws. While autorickshaw unions seemed happy as they had been demanding a hike of Rs2, the decision might not go down well with taxi unions who have been demanding a hike of Rs6.
The issue has got complicated because the PMA Hakeem Committee report, which recommended the fare, and the government resolution ordering the hike in October 2012 have been challenged in HC by a consumer forum.
"Under these circumstances, there is a grey area on whether it would be contempt of court if the state announces a further hike as per the committee report. We are checking with the state's law and judiciary ministry on what step to take next," a senior transport official said.
The Hakeem Committee, which laid down the formula on which autorickshaw and taxi fares are calculated, had recommended that the fares be hiked every May. Of course, the hike would have to be justified by a complex calculation of factors — Compressed Natural Gas prices, the cost of living index and maintenance charges incurred by autorickshaw and taxi drivers.
"Since October 2012 and now, the CNG price, one of the main ingredients of the committee formula, has increased from Rs33.05 to Rs38.95. This itself justifies a hike. Moreover, the cost of living, the insurance we pay for our vehicles and the cost of maintenance of our vehicles have all increased," said a union leader.