Mumbaikars can expect a hike in the taxi and auto fares some time soon, with the unions reminding the government to decide on the revision of charges due this month.
The current fares were set in October 2012 and according to a government decision a revision is to be decided in May. The Hakeem committee, set up to work out a fare formula, had recommended that the authority should study the price indices of the constituents that go towards making up the fare to decide on the revision. The taxi and auto unions have sent letters to the state government reminding it about the need to undertake the groundwork for the revision.
Thampi Kurian, general secretary, Mumbai Rickshawmen's Union, said, "Between October 2012 and now the price of compressed natural gas (CNG), one of the main components of the Hakeem committee formula, has increased from Rs33.05 to Rs38.95, a rise of Rs5.90. 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 increased too." Kurian said his union had sent a letter to the state transport department on May 2.
While the unions will not put a figure on the amount of the hike they expect, some of the leaders suggested that the flag-down rate for autos should be at least Rs17, that is two rupees over the current Rs15. They said that some time back the minimum fare for autos in Pune was set at Rs17, after calculating the price of CNG which is lower in Pune by about Rs5 a kg than that in Mumbai. Besides, the cost of living in Pune was also less than that in Mumbai. So, there is every reason for a proper hike in fares in Mumbai.
The taxi unions, for their part, are looking at a hike of about Rs 6, over the current minimum of Rs19. But sources feel that this may be slightly on the higher side.