Chennai: In a first of its kind initiative, Tamil Nadu Government on Sunday introduced GPS facility with Panic Button system for the safety of passengers in all autorickshaws plying in the metropolitan city of Chennai.
The government also announced revision in fares of the three wheeler, one of the popular modes of local transport after a gap of six years.
Detailing the decisions in an official statement, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that the government will equip autos in Chennai with GPS enabled Electronic Digital Printer at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore, which will ensure passengers paid the right amount and also received a receipt.
The first-of-its-kind initiative will also help in keeping a watch on the movement of the autos, she said.
"In the event of those travelling in an auto facing some danger, they can press the Panic Button fitted in the metre which will alert the police in the control room who can in turn take action," Jayalalithaa added.
The new fares, Rs 25 for the first 1.8 km and Rs 12 for every kilometre thereafter, will come into effect from Sunday.
Passengers will have to shell out an additional 50 per cent between 11pm and 5 am while the waiting charges have been fixed at Rs 42 per hour.
Jayalalithaa said the decisions were taken at a recent review meeting chaired by her which was attended by among others, Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and Transport Minister V Senthil Balaji.
The revised rates will be publicised through dailies and auto drivers should charge only those fares. They will be given time till October 15 to reset the charges in the auto metres, she said warning of stringent action including cancellation of licence and auto permits of those found violating the new fare rule.
The revision was done based on representations from auto unions and consumer fora that input costs including fuel, spare parts and wages for auto drivers had gone up, she said adding the state had around 2.14 lakh of the vehicles, with over 71,000 of them plying in Chennai.