16th September 2023, Mumbai: The Delhi government has issued a directive to all auto-rickshaw drivers in the city, requiring them to ensure that the Global Positioning System (GPS) devices used for tracking their location are in functional condition. Failure to comply with this directive may result in penalties for the drivers. This move comes in response to numerous complaints of auto-rickshaw drivers not using the fare meter correctly, which calculates the fare based on the distance traveled.
Checking and replacing the GPS devices
The GPS devices in auto-rickshaws work in conjunction with a SIM card inside the fare meter. The government has asked the city’s over 90,000 auto-rickshaw drivers to check if their GPS systems are not functioning and get them replaced. Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) Limited, responsible for operating Delhi’s cluster bus service, has been tasked with checking and replacing the GPS devices during the process of obtaining the fitness certificate for auto-rickshaws.
GPS functionality checks
Auto-rickshaws that are less than five years old are required to obtain a fitness certificate every two years, while older ones need to renew it regularly. However, the department had suspended GPS functionality checks during fitness inspections for the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fare disputes and ensure passenger safety
The transport department’s decision to enforce GPS functionality aims to address concerns related to fare disputes and ensure passenger safety by tracking vehicle movements. Despite some criticism from auto-rickshaw drivers who argue that GPS has not been effective in vehicle theft cases, the government believes this measure will help monitor trip meters and encourage fare compliance.
Commuters often complain about auto-rickshaw drivers not using the fare meter correctly. While having a functional GPS system might not directly impact fare compliance, it could serve as a tool for monitoring and enforcing proper fare practices, leading to a more transparent and accountable transportation system in Delhi.
By Yashika Desai