Running on meter is the system prevalent in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode and the autorickshaw drivers have no issues about it. In Kozhikode, the habit is to turn on the meter irrespective of the distance.
“Turning on the meter is a habit for autorickshaw drivers here. It is a part of their culture. The unions are strong in guiding them and there are very few complaints regarding the auto drivers within city limits. However, there are a quite a few complaints regarding auto drivers in the suburbs,” said Rajeev Puthalath, Kozhikode RTO.
Kozhikode District Motor Engineers Workers Union can be credited with the honesty of auto drivers of Kozhikode. They have been conducting awareness classes for auto drivers on a regular basis.
T V Noushad, secretary, Kozhikode Jilla Motor Engineers Workers Union says: “There are quite a few new generation auto drivers in Kozhikode now. The two major points we tell them during awareness class is to turn on the meter no matter how far they have to go and not to ask the passenger where the destination.”
Meter System Profitable
Meanwhile, T Babu, secretary, Swatantra Autorickshaw Thozhilali Union, Thiruvananthapuram, said the meter system was more profitable than the fixed charges.”There were protest when the city Traffic Police took strict measures to monitor auto rickshaws and action was taken against those drivers who did not operate the fare meter during trips. But, we found meter system is more profitable. Mostly, the passengers are willing to give a few rupees extra than the meter charges,” he said.
Babu added that fixed rates or prepaid auto rickshaws are not always a viable option as the passenger demands to go further from the destination to places to their liking. “Also, it gives a certain amount of credibility to us as there is little chance for exploitation while sticking with motor charges,” he added.