A meter Matter

I don’t know how many people realize this (or even care to bother), but come 26th and it would be exactly 5 months to the day when autorickshaw meters were made “mandatory and non-negotiable” on the streets of Chennai.
5 months and several pot holes later, things are no different.

For those of you who don’t live in Chennai (or wondering what the hell an autorickshaw meter is), here’s some update:I guess it is safe to declare auto drivers as the most despicable, hated, and rude people in all of Chennai (since how much you pay depends on various factors like what language you speak, what you wear, and how lost you look) and anyway, someone decided to bring back order by revising tariff and making meters on autorickshaws mandatory. Of course, passing a law is only one side of the story. The other side, is implementing it.
Surprisingly, that went on pretty well too. Every auto rickshaw (can we just call them ‘autos’?; I’m getting tired of typing ‘autorickshaw’ all the time) fitted with a mechanical meter was given a revised fare-sheet and a deadline to go digital. Any auto already fitted with a digital meter had to get recalibrated and re-certified.

Then, they figured, things would 'auto'matically (pun intended!) fall into place with auto drivers charging you by the meter - not a rupee more, not a rupee less. They would benefit from the transparent system and we would go home happy knowing we didn't pay 30bucks more than the other guy for the same distance. Too good to be true?

Yeah, right. For the rest of us its a different story. Ask any auto driver to charge you by the meter, and you get laughed in your face. Or maybe insulted. In fact one guy went as far as to explain why they couldn’t use digi-meters: Apparently the IC goes haywire after a few potholes and ends up running crazy. Now that’s an answer worth an electronics engineer!

Anyway jokes apart, the law is still in place, meters still run but we still pay by their own rules.

And unless something concrete is done soon, the Meter is still a mile away!


Jaffer said...

This is a very nice article indeed.

The dishonesty of these rickshaw drivers is going to come back and hit them in the face.
This is how the world works. And we must also keep this in mind as a Muslim.

Sure they may be able to fool a few tourists but the majority who really need to get to their destination are the city dwellers themselves.

Heck if these rickshaw drivers are showing their attitude, we'd take the bus or train to work.

Consumers have their rights and choices too !

A wo(a)ndering mind said...

I know!!! damn annoying!! The very thought of the need to 'TALK' to the auto guy even for the shortest of rides is .. uff.. nauseating!!