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TOI impact: TN announces new auto fares, mandatory meters



Updated On - Monday, 26 August 2013

25 August 2013

CHENNAI: The Times of India's year-long campaign 'Bring back auto meters' has clocked a success with the Tamil Nadu government announcing revised autorickshaw fares and mandatory meters. Autorickshaw drivers in Chennai and other TN cities have been infamous for fleecing passengers after discarding the meters about 15 years ago.

Two days before the Supreme Court deadline, on Sunday, the state government came out with the revised fares for all autorickshaws in Tamil Nadu. It will be Rs 25 for the first 1.8km and Rs 12 per km thereafter. At night, between 11pm and 5am - the fare will be 50 per cent more than the daytime fare. The government has also fixed waiting charges at Rs 3.50 for every five minutes and Rs 42 for an hour.

The government notification said the fares would come into force immediately on Sunday. However, drivers have time till September 15 to collect rate cards from the regional transport offices. Auto drivers have to recalibrate their meters by October 15.

The TOI campaign: Missing meter

The state government will spend Rs 80 crore to install GPS-enabled meters in autorickshaws that come with digital printers. "This will ensure that commuters know the exact fare and distance. Autos can be monitored," said a press release from chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

The meters will also be fixed with panic buttons that commuters can press if they feel they are in danger. The police control room will be notified and help will be assisted. The state has also issued warning for drivers who do not follow meters. Those charging more than the prescribed fare will have their permits cancelled Their vehicles can also be seized. A helpline will be set up and the driver has to display the number in the auto.

Tamil Nadu citizens had virtually retired to their fate of being fleeced by autorickshaw drivers when TOI launched the 'Bring back auto meters' campaign on September 4, 2012. It gave an impetus to individual efforts, a citizen, K Prahladan, had started an online petition, and another, S V Ramamurthy, had approached the court and brought the stakeholders on a platform to thrash out differences. In the past one year, TOI did about 50 articles covering various angles, buttressing the need for fare revision and metered journeys.

Finally, after three deadlines set by the Supreme Court, the notification came on Sunday. The state will submit this in the Supreme Court on Monday.

Published by: The Times Of India

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