Revised auto fares and how to ensure they are followed

The revised auto fares came into effect yesterday, Auto drivers, of course, neglected to mention that to their passengers, and continued to negotiate fares far in excess of what it should have been. The police are distributing fare cards to auto drivers in the mean while, which probably won’t mean much as they will not be used if they can help it.What can we do about it as citizens?

After all, we’ve been, literally and otherwise, taken for a ride by auto drivers who have, through their collective boorish behavior, bullied people into paying large amounts of money for short distances. (The administration is also to blame for not revising the fares for ten years despite fuel price hikes. However, I do remember auto drivers behaving this way from more than ten years ago). The only way to ensure that this time there is a change in behavior is for all auto users to take a collective stand.

Do not agree to a negotiated price, no matter how inconvenient. Move on to the next auto, and the next. Take down numbers of those refusing to ply at the card rates and call into the Police Commissioner’s office. Take the bus or train. Hitch a ride. Cycle if you can. It will cause a lot of inconvenience, but unless we do this together, these auto drivers are going to continue to fleece the public. Let’s ensure that the future is a lot pleasanter for everyone by doing this.

The Chennai Police have a great website at Check it out. The traffic control room no is 103. You can sms them at 98407 00100, mail them at, or type in a message to them on the ‘Contact us’ section on their site. Its never been easier, and as you can see from today’s Hindu. Sunil Kumar, the Traffic Commissioner, is interested in ensuring better discipline on our roads, traffic wise and auto fares wise.

The home page of the Chennai Police has this appeal which we should all take seriously, and take to heart, “The Chennai police is responsible for a population of around 80 lakhs (thats 8 million!), living across a vast area of more than 1000 sq. km. The resources of police can be better utilized, if the public plays an active part in crime prevention, by communicating with us, though media channels like this. We are at your service 24/7.

Together we can do it.

5 Comments so far

  1. anon (unregistered) on January 27th, 2007 @ 10:07 am

    They will not change no matter what you come up to change them, they have been born to be rude, bad, etc. I hate getting autos in chennai and would prefer any other mode than autos, even i sometimes walk the distance rather than fighting with those a******s!

  2. anon (unregistered) on January 27th, 2007 @ 10:49 am

    Better idea: stab the motherfuckers in the eye with a long screwdriver. Whoever survives is a good driver. Evolution. So it goes.

  3. Navneeth (unregistered) on January 27th, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the informative post, David.

    Anon, watch your language.

  4. Bharath (unregistered) on January 27th, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

    Well, as u say, auto drivers have been ‘negotiating’ fares for quite a while now; more than a decade.. in fact the tribe of auto drivers using the meters was steadily on the decline. I guess we the public have to share a part of the blame too for not nipping this menace in its bud. I really feel bad when people from other cities complain about our autowallahs; i mean almost no other city in india comes close. In places like bangalore and mysore where the terrain is not even flat, the drivers dont charge over the meter. i am pretty sure that if our topography were not so flat, these guys would have charged more for going to areas that involve uphill driving! one of my friends (his dad was a govt official with loads of money) used to pay Rs 10 for a distance of 400-500m from our bus stand to his house. After the petrol hikes last yr, he increased it to 15 when none of the drivers were willing to come..

    The idea of complaing to the police cell is attractive but what action can the police take if the auto is not legally registered? For all you (dont) know, the number you give might be someone’s scooter or car and the auto guy gets away clean..
    there are 2 things that i dont like about our city.. the autodrivers and the dirty rivers! looking forward to the day when these two will change :)

  5. Sarayu (unregistered) on January 29th, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

    Tell me are the auto fares strictly enforced. I believe the fare cards just mention important routes. Suppose I have to go to a place beyond thiruvanmiyur for which I do not know the exact kms. How I do I find the rate?
    Most autos do not have working speedometers.

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