Chennai Autorickshaws

Auto with Meter

Don’t be surprised on seeing this photo of an autoricksaw with meter showing the distance and the fare. This is at Bangalore and not Chennai

Autorickshaw fares were revised by the Govt of Tamilnadu with effect from January 26, 2007. Check here for the revised fares. According to Transport authorities, 16,948 autos in the city had mechanical fare meters and another 32,595 had electronic fare meters. These meters had to be recalibrated to reflect the revised fares. Chennai has about 26 authorised mechanics to recalibrate the meters.

Considering the limited number of mechanics who can recalibrate the meters, the Government fixed a deadline of May 21, 2007 for recalibrating the meters. Until then the consumers can use the tariff cards to find out the current rates.

Friday’s “The Hindu” reported that the Transport Department detained more than 200 autorickshaws on May 24, 2007 in a drive to crackdown on vehicles plying without recalibrated fare metres. And the Department is conducting checking operations ever since the deadline for recalibrating fare meter expired on May 21, 2007. Today’s Hindu reports that so far 620 autorickshaws have been impounded for not recalibrating the autometers.

Many Chennai Autorickshaws are still plying without recalibrated fare meters and continues to charge exorbitant / arbitrary fares as against the fare fixed by the Government. At time of urgency there is no alternative but to use this mode of transport.

The number of autorickshaws impounded for not recalibrating the autometers is small compared to the total autorickshaws in Chennai. More stringent action is required by the Transport Authorities like cancelling the licenses to the existing owners.

The question is : Will they take such stringent action ?

12 Comments so far

  1. SRIRAM (unregistered) on May 27th, 2007 @ 9:08 pm

    “thirudanaai paarthu thirundhaavittaal thiruttai ozhikka mudiyaadhu” (we cannot get rid of thefts if thieves don’t repent themselves)… it should start with a basic attitude change in chennai auto drivers.. and their mindset should change to acknowledge that they are in a service sector and try to be courteous and honest.

  2. david (unregistered) on May 27th, 2007 @ 10:31 pm

    They wont GVB, for the simple reason that many of the autos are owned by the police. The drivers act in such a callous manner because they know who their owners are. Its all a very tacit and comfortable arrangement. Thats why the auto drivers in Chennai are so rude and demanding-they know there is no accountability.

  3. Navneeth (unregistered) on May 27th, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

    My heart skipped a beat when I saw that picture. If you had said that it was in Chennai auto, I would have suspected photoshopping. :D

    Regarding stringent action, I was actually surprised to see action taken at all. Even if this was just to show people that were on the job, 200 was a pretty good number, IMO.

  4. tsk tsk (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 2:40 am


    Police ownership means little.

    its a question of whose got the measure of whom between the general public and auto drivers. A public boycott or public attacks on auto rickshaw misbehavior is the need of the hour. Auto drivers need to fear the public – scream at them, hit them if you have to, or jus plainly.. dont give them your business.

    are you willing to live upto it? Dont u agree that if we collectively do this, then we can certainlyy break their stand.

  5. Vivek (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

    This topic keeps coming over and over and over again.
    Havent seen any change, though, ever since I came here.

  6. raghuraman (unregistered) on May 28th, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

    this is SOS please. chennai autos are horrible monsters. I have got terrible :personal and friends’ experiences over 15 years with these cockroaches: autos. Please please please circulate this desperate cry of helplessness.examples:poor family from north sells their land and comes for eye operation:chennai: charged Rs.600/- for nungambakkam:8 years back.i am charged Rs.700/- :chennai central to tambaram: 12 years back.did not pay:stayed in Central station all night: terribly ill.was threatened 2 days back:if RTO checking comes: i should lie to them: meter put. i refused. was abused in front of my family in foul words. was cowed down.police in chennai are human rights violaters.if we complain, they kill people in police stations.naturally afraid to go to station to complain.this is the daily experience of hundreds of ppl every day. i am a powerless person. i challenge the bloggers, if they are eating salt, then circulate this globally, make the world spit on chennai people and their mentality. chennaites are cowards, including myself.(i am not a chennaite btw). do something substantial, make the civilised westerners know abut the horroble auto drivers of chennai.
    G.Raghuraman. I am prepared to swear all these under oath and laying my hand on bhagwad gita. there is no GOD in tamilnadu. I am G.Raghuraman: WILL ANYONE TELL ME WHAT SHOULD A COMMON CITIZEN DO? Actually, i have very little faith in intellectual armchair bloggers, sorry. what is required is action by influential ppl. by stopping tourist flow and businens to chennai. these ppl cheat foreigners and hindi speaking ppl ina horrible manner. so what are yu going to do about it?

  7. venkat (unregistered) on May 29th, 2007 @ 4:34 am

    well the people should understand that consumers hold the power. there is no point in boycotting autos and troubling urself to prove a point. I wouldn’t do it. People in apartments and other areas have their own sangam where residents pool in some money and these sangams take care of the apartment maintenance and stuff. These sangams can coax the residents to pool in some more money and buy autos which charge nominal fare. they can hire auto drivers. People will automatically start using these autos since they are inexpensive and this will put everything in control. I dont think it is difficult. They can start with one or two autos. If people living in different areas start doing this, it will eventually give people their power back. These issues can be solved at a local level by the resident community.

  8. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on May 29th, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

    raghuraman, your cry is very passionate, but I have to say that, except for foreign tourists who do not have a clue about the value of Rs1,000, it does take two to get ripped off that badly.

    One to demand, one to pay. I don’t know anyone recently, even foreign tourists, who have paid in hundreds and hundreds — except those who think it easier to take one man for the day, and don’t realise that a car would have been cheaper.

    We’ve all been quoted high auto fares from places like Central Station, Spencer Plaza, or anywhere near a posh hotel, and many of us, carrying heavy luggage or shopping, have given in to their game rather than carry our weight elsewhere.

    But if you are not weighed down, and you have the energy, it is very easy to avoid the worst of these auto cartels. Just cross the road!

  9. Ashok (unregistered) on May 29th, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

    The topic of Autos in Chennai is a fairly commonly discussed theme across the city. But I sometimes wonder if we are actually having a rational debate about this issue. I put together some thoughts here:

  10. Mahesh (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

    You can read

    Bangalore autodrivers have imbibed enough from Chennai. Though the situation is not as bad, it is getting worse.

  11. meyya (unregistered) on June 8th, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

    does any one know from when chennai stopped charging based on meter (if at all they charged any time – may be 15/20 years back), does any one here have used an auto in chennai 2o years back and were the meters running? help appreciated

  12. G V Balasubramanian (unregistered) on June 12th, 2007 @ 9:11 am

    I remember the Chennai autorickshaws were using the meter till early 90s. That time they were asking the users to give Rs 5 or Rs 10 over the meter charges. When I moved to Coimbatore in 1988 on a transfer, I found the Coimbatore autorickshaws were not using the meter and they were charging a flat rate. This appeared to be strange when Chennai autorickshaws were using the meter

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