Soaring petrol and diesel prices have now begun to affect public transport. In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), auto-rickshaws and taxis have increased their base fares. Both auto-rickshaws and taxis have increased the minimum fare by ₹3. The minimum fare of an auto-rickshaw now stands at ₹21, while the base fare of a taxi is hiked up to ₹25.
The Auto and Taxi unions of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai have welcomed the fare hike. Several auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers said they had been suffering for the past five years as the fares remained the same despite the increase in the cost of fuel, maintenance and insurance. According to the unions, as the fare is increased, the drivers have got some much-needed relief.
Numerous auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers expressed their happiness over the increased fares as already they have suffered a huge loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Several drivers are caught up in heavy debt. Now, after the hiked fares, the drivers expect the increased income to help them put everything back on track. However, on the other hand, increased fares will also affect the common public.
A local driver was also noted saying that he hopes the conditions of debt-suffering drivers will soon return to normal with help of the increased fares. The fare-hike was agreed on by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) on 22nd February (Monday) after a meeting was called to review the current fares and increasing petroleum prices.
Fuel prices are on a steep rise all over the country. Petrol and diesel rates rose for the second successive day. The price of petrol in the MMR is just ₹3 less than ₹100. Whereas, the price of diesel stands at ₹88.06/litre. Significantly, the petrol and diesel rates have increased by whopping 24 times.