Mandatory use of fare meters ignored
A recent report published in this daily revealed that some auto-rickshaw drivers are not adhering to the new fare chart and the mandatory use of fare meters that came into effect from November 1. Many auto-rickshaw drivers continue to carry passengers on a contract basis in blatant violation of the newly introduced rule of compulsory use of fare meters.
Despite the upward revised fare chart, passengers continue to be overcharged since auto-rickshaw drivers, although required by the government to pay a daily deposit of Tk 900, are forced to pay even more by the owners. The latter's lack of rationale with regard to charging auto-rickshaw drivers inevitably results in the ultimate burden of higher fare falling on passengers.
Although the use of fare meters has been made mandatory, which is a commendable move, the stumbling blocks in the way of its effective implementation need to be identified. For one, there is an obvious need to address the absence of any binding agreement between the auto-rickshaw drivers and owners of three-wheelers. A formal contract which requires owners to rely on a reasonable, structured method will not only empower auto-rickshaw drivers but also discourage the owners from overcharging passengers. The traffic police must also play their due role in ensuring that auto-rickshaw drivers obey the fare meter rules.
It must be noted though that the aforementioned points are mere short-term measures. The public transportation system remains the main challenge and long-term, sustainable solutions lie in overhauling it.