Meter should be Down and not Jammed!

I personally feel Meter Jam is a brilliant initiative, the thought and attention requried to the issue of drivers refusing fares was much needed after the recent fare hike in tariff of auto rickshaw and taxis.

However, going by the registered number of RTO for the total auto rickshaw population which stands at 1.8 lakh I decided to do my math.

An auto rickshaw which works under two shifts fetches Rs.320 as rent. When we multiply the same figure with the total number of auto rickshaw population of 1.8 lakh, the rent for a single day operation only for auto rickshaw in Mumbai will amount to Rs.5,76,00,000.

(320 X 1,80,000 = 57600000)

During the recent strike which happened on two individual occasion the rent lost for two days amounted to Rs. 11,52,00,000 (Eleven cores, fifty two lakhs).

Just to remind you the figure Rs. 11,52,00,000 does not include any government taxes, revenues, or any other amount.

Just by purely looking at this if we head for Meter Jam we are not solving any problem but only losing out on lot of other things. When we strike the medium out, every industry and sector will be affected directly or indirectly. E.g If I stay at Worli and work in Andheri east like many other who travel for work, the situation will only get worse. The services of BEST in the area are uneven and since the entire area is under construction for Metro, we all heaviley rely on rickshaw and taxi to commute.

But the most important point that I wish to share that we as an individual follow and practise the wrong way of catching an rickshaw or taxi. We always tell the driver where we desire to go standing right outside the cab and wait for the drivers refusal.


According to the RTO, when you see a auto rickshaw or a taxi whose meter is up, all you have to do is call him and get inside the vehicle. It is once when you are inside you should navigate the driver for your destionation. In this picture the driver does not get a chance to refuse the fair since you are inside and if he does, you could call the traffic help line number.

An driver can only refuse the journey if his meter is half down, which implies that he does not wish to travel.

Looking at all this, I feel just because we are unaware about the guide lines and calling a self strike of Meter Jam is no right method of handling the situation and issue. We often criticize people who work for a good cause but adopt the wrong method and I strongly believe Meter Jam is a classic example.

As I type this, 28,886 people have liked what they are doing on Facebook, but for most of them its just a cool idea that is being done and it sound good to have a strike when people don't listen to you.

I positively feel had the same strength, enthusiasm and motivation of Meter Jam could have been used in a better way by educating the Mumbaikars which when looked on the scale of calling for self strike with a population of 1.8 lakh drivers verse the uncountable figure population of the city which is way above the drivers of entire Maharashtra put together.

This is where we could have created an impact where we educated passengers as various spots which would have not gone waste or could have been more valuable then just a one day Meter Jam self strike which will not have any positive value and impact to the city.

We should look at the vision of future by spreading awareness and educating but not by striking or Jamming them out. The one day Meter Jam strike will not be a victory but just a tablet pain killer to submerge the pain temporary. We should ideally be on look out for a win win situation for both the drivers and the passengers.

Thousands of people smoke inside the auto rickshaw and taxi and to stop that we will do a strike, hundreds of people cross their legs and put them on the drivers seat and to stop that we will do a strike, countless numbers of travelers will hand over a Rs.100 note for a basic minimum fare and expect the driver to be Bank and give them change after every ride - wow, they don't keep enough change, lets do a strike! Tomorrow there will be a day when things won't happen as you desire, so will striking help you achieve that???

If we follow the footsteps of Meter Jam blindly, we would some day become a striking state with jammed people.

"Smart people find solutions, Visionaries look beyond the obvious to solve the problem"- Mulchand Dedhia.