Hyderabad: Autorickshaws in the city are charging rates as per their own sweet will, ignoring a 2014 government order that makes fares designated by digital meters mandatory in autos.
According to the order, the minimum fare for 1.6 km is Rs 20, but the autos charge Rs 30. And the minimum fare goes up to around Rs 50 in thoroughfare areas like hospitals and railways stations.
“There are no fixed auto fares,” says Ms Anitha Kumari, a resident. “They charge as per their wish. I was asked `50 for going from Secunderabad Railway Station to Parade Grounds Metro station, which is barely a half a kilometer.”
“At times, these autos take undue advantage of people in dire need at places like government hospitals,” said another resident on the condition of anonymity. “They are demanding exorbitant amounts, depending on the patient’s condition. This is unfair.”
Road Transport Authority officials did not agree with the complaints.
Though most autos already have meters installed, the drivers are reluctant to use them.
Motor vehicle inspectors keep checking vehicles for permit and fitness violations.
If the autos are found without meters, they would be fined around Rs 2,000 and the vehicles would be sealed.
But the auto unions had a grouse. “The government has not increased fares in the past four years and our livelihood is dependent on the fare,” said an auto driver. “Fuel prices have gone up by around Rs 40. It will be difficult for us to survive if we charge meter rates. In any case, few people hail autos these days. We are facing competition from cab aggregators as well.”