The auto-rickshaw drives in the capital city of Karnataka are firmly demanding for a hike in the base fare from the current Rs 25 to Rs 36, indicating the price hike is required due to the higher total operation cost and the rising inflation over the three years.
The rickshaw base fare was previously hiked in 2013, when the base fare was increased to Rs 25 from Rs 20 for 1.9 km and followed by Rs 13 for every kilometre.
With the increase in the fuel prices in 2019, several unions had appealed for a revision, but various others were against it citing the passengers may switch to aggregator based taxis.
The Auto Rickshaw Drivers Unions (ARDU), having an affiliation from CITU has given a letter to the government with the appeal to increase the base fare to Rs 36, and the fare for every subsequent kilometre be fixated to Rs 18.
C N Srinivas, General Secretary, ARDU said, “Besides the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance, a lot of things have changed over the last seven years. The cost of groceries to school fees and health services have all gone up. We urge the government to look into this issue and increase the fares immediately.”
Adarsh Auto Union is supporting the demand, but also worried fir the impact it will have on the regular commuters. Sampath C, General Secretary of the Union said, “The need to revise the fare is essential, considering the plight of drivers. However, we are still worried about how passengers will respond to such a move in the wake of the economic crisis brought in by the Covid-19.”
When the earlier update was done, the transport department had presented the condition that the next hike would be deliberated on post two years or when the combined price of the fuel and lubricant surpasses Rs 70 per kilometre.
Srinivas said, “Most of the 2 lakh auto-rickshaws in the city run on LPG, whose price is estimated at Rs 49.85 per km. In addition, we spend Rs 15 per km on oil. Together, the cost is still at Rs 64.85 km. One needs to factor in the general inflation to understand our plight.” Regarding the number of comutters reduced post lockdown,Sampath said, “Compared to the pre-Covid scenario, the number of people hailing autos has fallen drastically. A fare revision is now a basic necessity. We only hope it won’t have a negative impact.”
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