The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital on Friday approved a hike of Rs 1.50 per km in auto-rickshaw fares. With this, the auto fare will become Rs 9.5 per km from existing Rs 8 per km. Also, the base fare will be Rs 25 for first 1.5 kilometres instead of the existing limit of 2 kilometres as per the revised new auto-rickshaw rate.
"The revised rates will be implemented after the Transport Department's notification and recalibration of fare meters. I will write to the department for issuing a notification for implementation of the cabinet decision with immediate effect," said Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.
“Fares of other modes of public transport such as Gramin Sewa, eco-friendly Sewa among others, will also be revised later on,” Gahlot said.
He, however, did not mention the exact date since when the new fare would be implemented. The Transport Minister also said that waiting charges of 75 paisa per minute would be applicable for every minute when vehicle is stationary or stuck in traffic or moving slow.
“There is no change in night charges and the luggage charges,” he added.
The hike in auto fares, which was last revised by the then Sheila Dikshit government in 2013, was aimed at wooing 90,000-odd auto-rickshaw drivers in Delhi ahead of the Lok Sabha election. A large section of auto-rickshaw drivers vehemently backed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, first in its maiden election in December 2013 and then in February 2015.
However, unions of auto-rickshaw drivers in the city termed the hike in fares as ‘inadequate’ and asked it to rein in unregulated app-based cab services. "Government's fare revision is an inadequate move. It has not done anything on our main demand to check surging number of app-based taxis that have eaten into our passenger base," said Rajender Soni, general secretary of Delhi Auto-rickshaw Sangh.
He also demanded subsidy of Rs 15 on CNG fuel, which is currently available at rate of Rs 45 per kg. The Delhi Auto-rickshaw Sangh also demanded a flat rate of Rs 10 per km, but it was not met, Soni said.
The fare hike will further hit the auto-rickshaw drivers who have been facing difficulty in finding passengers due to a large number of app-based taxis on the road, said Kishan Verma, president of All Delhi Auto Taxi Congress Union.