Visakhapatnam is finally starting to implement the digital meter system for auto rickshaws. The installation of the same has begun and will reportedly be completed by this month’s end, according to Asianet News. After a long delay, commuters will finally have some relief.
Previously, autos had mechanical meters that could be tampered with easily, before the idea was almost abandoned by 2013. Even the autos that had functional mechanical meters didn’t want to run it, charging customers however much they felt like. All that will now hopefully be a thing of the past with commuters being able to ride in autos fitted with digital meters rather than the easily tampered mechanical ones.
The fare for autos will now stand at Rs 20 for the first 1.5 KMs and Rs 15 for every KM added. Auto drivers claim that people prefer sharing to save cost, while at the same time, they overcrowd the autos and end up taking more money for a particular distance. However, despite the implementation, it is another thing to see if the auto drivers actually make use of the digital meters.
Bengaluru already has a digital meter system in autos and yet the driver either refuse to ply by meter or charge additional amount on what is charged by the meter. Vizag has 4000 autos, 60% of them reportedly running without license. Now, the Road Transport Authority will coordinate with the city police to ensure no registration for autos happen without the digital meter.
Previously, in 2014, the government declared that the minimum charge for autos will be Rs 20, with every subsequent KM costing Rs 9-11 and the waiting charge stood at 50 paise per minute. There is also the provision to charge one and half times more the normal charge between 11 PM and 5 AM. It was then that there was talk of all the autos being fitted with digital meters within three months.
So with promises made in the past too, it waits to be seen if the digital meter system will actually be implemented this time around.