Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tampered Rickshaw Meters

Mumbaites tend to use public transportation a lot more than people from any other city. Our trains, buses, taxis and auto rickshaws do a decent jobs of getting people from one end of the city to the other.

However over the years I have noticed that auto rides have become expensive. It is common knowledge that auto drivers are tampering the meters so that they tick faster. A rickshaw ride from Khar gymkhana to Bandra Station used to be 1.20-1.30 on the meter about ten years back. One thing I know is that the roads have not expanded, but the same ride now results in the meter reading 1.60-1.80, which strengthens my theory that meters are getting shamelessly tampered with.

The charge for a ride from Khar to Powai on a Sunday morning with minimal traffic would be around Rs.105/- but on one occasion while making the same trip to our Church, we encountered an auto driver who was charging us Rs.140/-.

There is also the theory of MH 02 and MH 03 auto rickshaws where the meter reads differently for the same journey. I have not yet been able to get my brains around it firmly though.

While this is becoming a menace to the regular travelers who have to fight it out everyday, the out of towner will not even know the difference and will be truly taken for a ride.


Anirudh D said...

As far as I know, the meters on one of them (when the autos were made) were made to run quicker. I think this is on MH03 riks or on MH02 and then fixed on the other. Ofcourse, this is from the rikshaw guy of one of those so possibly not-very-true.

Best way to find out is intentionally choose which one you're taking and notice the price.

This is all ofcourse quite unrelated to the meter being tampered with anyway...for these you just need to notice the super high change rate. No auto guy will admit he's tampered with it (or they say they're driving someone else's)...And as luck (and life) would have it, over short distances, you get screwed a little, over medium, you get noticably screwed and over long, just take another auto...without any guarantee of better luck.

Ankur Mehta said...

You are right guys. The meters are tempered with in 80% cases. I travel by rickshaw everyday for a long distance and now I know exactly how much should the meter tick from one point to another on my daily route. I do keep a watch on it, just because I hate to be cheated. What I do is that as soon as I find out that the meter is fast (1st checkpoint test), I take another auto, hoping for better luck.
It is high time that RTO got serious about this and started making random checks. But we should make it a point to note down the registration number of such rickshaws and make written complaint to the concerned RTO office and keep following up the complaint until we know that some action is taken.