Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 17:
Like its metro counterparts, pre-paid auto service is going to start in the Odisha capital soon. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to dedicate the service to the denizens of the city on March 22.
The service has been initially planned at the railway station, Baramunda bus stand and KiiT square, said a notification from Transport department and Commissionerate Police. In the first phase, 150 autos will be deployed at station, 100 at bus stand and 100 more at KiiT square.
The service will be available 24 x 7 at the railway station and between 6 AM till 10 PM at Baramunda bus stand and KiiT Square.
While the service was initially planned to be launched from the airport, it has not yet been started as authorities are yet to provide parking space for auto richshaws and the booking counter at the terminal.
The charges have been capped at Rs 30 for the first two kilometres, which also is the minimum amount payable for hiring a pre-paid auto. Beyond the first two kilometres, the charges would be calculated at Rs 10 per kilometre. If the auto is hired for a distance of more than 20 kilometres, the charges would come down to Rs 8 per kilometre beyond the first 20 kilometres, the notification said.
“Night time charges (11 PM- 5 AM) have been capped at Rs 50 for the first two kilometres, which is also the minimum night rental charge. Beyond the first two kilometres, the tariff would be 30 percent higher than day charges,” said a senior official of the Transport Department.
The tariff would be calculated within the distance from one square to another. The auto drivers will drop the passenger within one kilometre radius of the destination square as asked by the passenger.
“The drivers can claim the rental charges by submitting the receipt at the counter after dropping the passenger. We will keep a copy of the RC book of the autos, driver’s permanent address, photo and driver’s license with us. This is going to curb criminal activities by auto-drivers in the city and make travel safer,” said Sanjay Kumar Behera of RTO-2 of the city.
“We will start the service from airport at a later date,” Behera added.
As per the new prepaid service, the passengers wouldn’t have to negotiate the fare with auto-drivers. They can walk up to the counter and ask for the fare for the journey. Once they submit the amount at the counter, the auto driver would drop him at his destination.
The authorities are also planning to start welfare services and facilities such as rest shades, insurance, drinking water and other facilities by taking Rs 2 extra from the auto-owners.