The Indian government has moved forward with plans to hike fares for taxi and autorickshaw travel in Mumbai.
Rising for the third time in the space of a year, commuters in the Bollywood capital will now have to pay a minimum fare of RS.19 for a standard non-air-conditioned taxis, whilst paying Rs.23 for air-conditioned taxis. Rickshaw fares have also increased to Rs.15 from Rs.12 in Mumbai, and RS.19 from Rs.15 in Bhiwandi-Kalyan towns of Thane district where it relies on petrol. Proportionate hikes in luggage and night service charges have also been permitted.
Earlier this month, the state government had approved hikes in rickshaw and taxi fares in a pre-emptive move over a strike threatened by over 50,000 taxi drivers in the city.
Reports suggest that this most recent hike has been fixed in accordance with a state government-approved formula, taking into account the cost-of-living, vehicle repair and maintenance costs, fuel cost, capital cost, taxi insurance and other factors.
However commuters are far from happy. With other prices on the rise, Mumbai residents are furious with the recent increases in fares whilst rickshaw and taxi drivers maintain that inflation has hit them too.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, head of the transport department, justified hikes in fares by suggesting that the autorickshaws and taxis will provide a good service to passengers. with strict penalties to taxi and autorickshaw drivers and suspension of licenses taking place in the event of bad behaviour or refusal of travel.
The official report from the Chief Minister’s office has also confirmed that the government has decided to phase out taxis and autos in-use for more than 20 years in Mumbai.