Consumer Awareness

Good To Know: How To Complain If An Auto Driver Refuses To Go By Meter?

The Logical Indian

May 17th, 2017


The notoriety of auto drivers is well known, especially in the metropolitan cities. There exists a constant war between the citizens and the auto rickshaw drivers. Petitions have been signed, the concerned officers have been informed, and action has been taken. On paper, auto drivers are being penalized accordingly. But in reality, auto rickshaw drivers unabashedly ignore all the rightful restrictions imposed on them and continue to harass citizens by charging almost twice (and sometimes thrice) the meter charge. Citizens are forced to bargain, fight and struggle with them just to use their services for even the shortest of distances.

We, commuters , need to change our behaviour too. Whenever someone finds an auto rickshaw driver, who is refusing to go by the meter,  register your grievances with the relevant authorities. Many metros have come up up with easy ways to register complaints against erring auto rickshaw drivers. Make sure you use those avenues to counter the auto rickshaw drivers menace.

Always remember ” Never underestimate the power of a complaint”. If every one of us starts registering our grievances, the pressure on the officials increases and they will take strict action on the erring auto wallas.

auto-complaint numbers in different cities

Use The Avenues Provided To Address Your Concerns

5 Ways to Register Complaint against Auto Rickshaw


  • 24 x 7 Helpline:: Call on Traffic Police Helpline Number: 011-25844444 or 1095
  • SMS: SMS <REF or OVC or MIS vehicle number location time> to 56767. REF is for Refusal; OVC is for overcharging and MIS is for Misbehavior
  • Online on Delhi Traffic Police Website: Fill online traffic complaint card.
  • Facebook: Complaint at Delhi Traffic Police Facebook Page
  • Mail: Fill a general traffic complaint card and mail it to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Traffic Police Headquarters, Dev Prakash Shastri Marg, Pusa, New Delhi – 110011.

2) Bangalore
The Bangalore Traffic Police has instituted a number of methods in which complaints can be made against errant auto drivers who overcharge or refuse hire.

  • 24 x 7 Helpline:   080-22868444 and  080-22868550.
  • SMS: can be sent in the following formats, to 52225 for Airtel customers and to 9663952225 for non-Airtel customers. 
  • Email: Send a mail to [email protected] with the reason for complaint, auto registration number, location details and date and time.
  • Website: One can also file a complaint directly on the complaints page on the BTP website. Ensure that you share the reason for complaint, auto registration number, location details and date and time. 
  • BTP App: Install the BTP App on your smartphone and register a complaint through the app.

For refusing hire: AUTOREF Registration number Location(from and to)Time.

Example: AUTO REF KA01XY1234 Koramangala to Ulsoor 4:30pm For  overcharging.

3) Hyderabad


  • Toll-free number: Use the following number: 18004255430 to lodge a complaint. This Automatic Free Service to lodge overcharging complaint against autos in Chennai

Meter Tampering

1)Mechanical Meter tampering:

  • Tampering with the mechanical meters was a relatively simple process. If the gap between the teeth of the gears were filled out with additional material packing the wheels turn faster and thus the meter would show higher readings. Known popularly as ‘meter setting’, this practice resulted in stepped increases of 5 per cent, 10, per cent, 20 per cent or even 25 per cent above the legal fare depending on how confident the driver felt.
  • By 2006, there was an outrage against the mechanical meter being in use and the Government made it mandatory for all auto-rickshaw drivers to switch to digital meters.
  • Digital meters use electric pulses to measure both distance and time. To record the distance travelled, the meter relies on a sensor attached to the vehicle’s transmission. The sensor sends an electric pulse to the meter every time the vehicle travels a given distance.
  • Inside the meter itself, there is a timer that sends out a pulse when a set amount of time passes. Pulses come from either sensor at intervals that are smaller than the fare interval. Altering the pulse of the meter results in altered readings.

2) Digital meters  aren’t tamper proof. Here are four methods how the meters can be tampered with:

  • Switch Pressing – There’s a switch which is usually located under the seat of the driver. Each time it is pressed, the pulse rate of the meter doubles.
  • ‘Hyderabad’ Method– A two-way switch device is connected to the engine. The switch has two modes. The driver chooses the mode based on his judgment of the passenger. It’s connected with wires to the engine which increase the pulse, thus calculating fare at a higher speed and over a longer distance. The advantage of this technique is that there’s no physical tampering of the meter, but it can also be detached in case of an inspection by the RTA/Police.
  • Capacitor –A capacitor is connected to an either the indicator lamps or front brake. Whenever the vehicle turns, or the brake is pressed, the pulse rate increases and the fare increases
  • Wheel Alteration – This is a mechanical method which relies on rigging the four wheel-like components in the meter.

Digital meters are usually quite expensive and thus the rates for fixing meters vary according to the paise jump needed. Some places offer 10 paise jumps that cost Rs 500, and 20 paise jumps that cost Rs 800.


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