PUDUCHERRY: In a move to address the persistent complaints of overcharging and erratic fare determination by auto-rickshaw drivers in Puducherry, the transport department is planning to introduce a mobile application. The initiative aims to ensure fair and regulated services for passengers and guarantees equitable remuneration for drivers.
Transport Commissioner AS Sivakumar told TNIE that this service would be akin to “Kerala Savari”, operated by the Motor Workers Welfare Board of Kerala government’s labour department, intending to offer safe travel by eliminating chances of overcharging.
Meanwhile, the department has cautioned of strict action against autos lacking metres and against drivers charging fares beyond the prescribed rates, he added. A fine of Rs 10,000 will be imposed on non-compliant auto-rickshaws, as notified under the Motor Vehicle Act. Action would also be taken on autos plying without permit, he said.
Despite fixing the fares multiple times in consultation with the auto association, the non-compliance by drivers persists, partly due to the influence of labour unions backed by political parties. With the transport department facing challenges due to a shortage of staff, a dedicated task force is being formed by taking assistance from the traffic police and engaging the newly recruited employees, said Sivakumar.
The drivers have been advised to charge fares as per the rates in the ordinance in 2016, fixing the fares at a minimum of Rs 35 for the first 1.8 km, Rs 18 for every additional km, and Rs 5 for every five minutes. The auto fare schedule is accessible on the department’s official website (https://transport.py.gov.in). Passengers are urged to contact police control (100 or 1031) for assistance.