Already reeling under the steep hike in Delhi Metro fares from October last year, people of Delhi may soon have to shell out more to travel in auto-rickshaws as well. Sources in Delhi government confirmed that the government has agreed to accept auto-rickshaw union’s demand to hike fares in the national capital and has appointed a committee to look into the revision of fares. The last revision in auto-rickshaw fares had happened six years ago.
According to sources, a meeting was held on Wednesday between senior officials of transport department and auto-rickshaw unions over fare revision. Though, the final decision is yet to be taken, the officials' view clearly indicates a hike is imminent and an announcement in this regard will be coming soon from the government.
“The committee which is comprised of transport department officials, officials of finance department and Delhi Transport Corporation is discussing the matter on the proposed fare hike. Final decision will be taken by the transport minister,” said an official in Delhi government.
Last time the auto-rickshaw fares in the national capital were hiked in the national capital was in 2013 when the then Congress-led Delhi government had increased the fare prices by 25 per cent due to increase in the prices of CNG. Back then the base fare of auto-rickshaws was increased to Rs 25 from Rs 19 for the first two kilometres while the fare for every subsequent kilometre was raised from Rs 6.5 to Rs 8. At present, auto-rickshaws in Delhi still charge as per the fares introduced in 2013.
City Spidey, through its sources has learnt that, Delhi’s auto-unions that had supported the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the last Delhi Assembly polls have for the past two years been mounting pressure on the Kejriwal-led government to increase fares. In the past, auto-unions had also protested against the Delhi government.
When City Spidey spoke to some auto-rickshaw drivers, they justified their demand saying CNG prices have been increased multiple times in last five years but auto-rickshaw fare has not been increased. “Apart from CNG prices going up in the last five years, maintenance of auto-rickshaws has become very expensive with increase in prices of spare parts. Parking charges have also become very expensive,” Sumit Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver said.
While the auto-rickshaw commuters have expressed their anger while talking to City Spidey, Garima Singh, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase 1, said, “This is too much. First, the central government introduced demonetisation, then GST, post that Metro fare was hiked up by 70 per cent and now the Delhi government is going to hike auto-rickshaw fares as well. Extreme financial burden has be imposed on common people in the past one and a half year.”