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Bhopal: Digital meter in autos mandatory

Bhopal: In what may come as a big relief for commuters and end a practice of arbitrary fares, installation of digital meters in auto-rickshaws is made mandatory.

After rounds of meetings with associations of auto-rickshaw drivers on revision of auto fares this month, the district administration, transport department and Regional Transport Office (RTO), Bhopal decided to make digital meters mandatory form May 1 this year. An order to this effect was issued on Saturday.
Going by the fare worked out at the meeting, commuters will have to pay a minimum fare of Rs 25 for travelling up to 0 to 2 km against existing Rs 20 and Rs 13 for every additional km against existing Rs 10.
Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Sunil Rai Saxeena told TOI an additional 15% of fixed charges is set as night charge.

“Night charges will be applicable to all commuters. Between10 pm to 5 am, commuters will have to pay an additional 15% of the fixed fare as night charge,” he said. The driver are told to wear name plates and uniform besides plying by meter system.

“Stern action will be initiated against auto-rickshaw drivers for violation of norms, he said. Permit and fitness certificate will also be cancelled in case of violation of norms,” said SDM Bhopal Disha Nagwanshi.
In the meeting, fare of Tata Magic vans, which run on petrol, is fixed as Rs 5 for first three km, Rs nine up to 7 km, Rs 11 up to 10 km, Rs 13 up to 13 km, Rs 16 up to 16 km, Rs 18 up to 19 km, Rs 20 up to to 22 km, Rs 23 up to 25 km, Rs 25 up to 28 km, Rs 26 up to 31 km, Rs 29 up to 34km, Rs 31 for 37 km and Rs 34 for 40 km.
Auto-wallahs were asked to install a meter, which should be in active working condition in line with criteria set by weight and measure department. If old meters are not working, auto owners are asked to replace or restore them immediately.
According to SP Traffic Sameer Yadav, surprise checks would be conducted by traffic police in case meters are being tampered with.

“We will not give permit to new autos unless it has a digital meter. We will also ensure old meters of all autos are replaced with digital meters in a time-bound manner. Tampering will be also monitored strictly,” Yadav told TOI.

He informed more than 2,000 registered auto-rickshaws in the city run without meter and lead to frequent arguments between drivers and passengers.
The auto-rickshaw drivers in the city are also wary of competition from the new entrant ‘Jugnoo and Ola auto.’ The tele-auto charges according to distance travelled and the distance is computed via the GPS. The application automatically tracks distance of the ride and sends the calculated fare to a passenger via an SMS.
Officials said the meter system will bring a sense of impartiality, which has arisen due to app-based autos and help them run their business smoothly.

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