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Some Progress Made By Meter Jammers' Creative Campaign
Traffic on the streets of Mumbai. Photo courtesy of

Traffic on the streets of Mumbai. Photo courtesy of Brajeshwar.

Mumbai is a hectic metropolis infamous for its traffic chaos. The hundreds of thousands of tiny black and yellow cabs and rickshaws that criss-cross the streets have caused plenty of frustration for the city’s 14 million residents.

To better tackle the issue, three Mumbai-based advertising professionals developed Meter Jam, an online and on-the-streets campaign, as Akshay Mani wrote about earlier this month.  The goal of the strike is to generate awareness about the auto and cab drivers who cause untold problems for travelers by refusing patrons and tampering with car meters.  More than 40,000 people participated in the August 12-13 strike. Some important people took note.

The Outcomes:

According to a story in MumbaiMirror:

“The traffic cops have booked and fined 362 auto and taxi drivers for refusing short fares in just two days – Thursday and Friday. That’s 181 cases a day, a seven-fold increase from the daily average of 20-25 such cases.”

And Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police, Vivek Phansalkar, responded to the action in an interview with The Times of India:

“I agree that people need better service from auto and cabs in the city…people have expressed their anger loud and clear. We plan to adopt a two-pronged approach. First, come down heavily on the drivers who refuse fares…”

And the other piece involves working with unions to ensure drivers are following the basic rules. The Commissioner says his department has already arrested 500 drivers in the four days following the strike. He has also asked police officers to monitor railway and bus stations where most of the misconducts occur. The Commissioner said seven to eight rounds of checks are occurring everyday at train stations, bus stops, and junctions where taxis tend to refuse people.

One of the most exciting responses to the two-day strike involves the Home Minister of Maharashtra, R. R. Patil, who invited the three designers of the project for a meeting. Given their work developing the campaign, the minister asked that they prepare a report on the grievances of commuters. Patil promises to take action.  He further elaborated:

“… unions [will] issue pamphlets to give drivers clear guidelines on etiquette and discipline. After 10 days, if they’re still out of line on rules pertaining to licenses and permits, courtesy to passengers, faulty meters, uniforms and badges, the government will crack down on them.”

To join the discussion to improve Mumbai’s streets, comment on this post or join the Meter Jam Facebook group.

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  • @ Yojimbo.

    Why call these Meter Jammers as cheapsters? They belong to the middle-class, are highly skilled and should have their way of right more than the poor or the rich class. In vibrant India, the poor have all means to come to the levels of middle class and we should cultivate environment suitable people aspiring to become middle-class and strengthen the middle-class by not appeasing the poor or the rich. Most transport policies being framed for cities in India seem to be neglecting the needs of the middle-class.

  • Auto-RIckshaws are no-doubt menacing for most streets in Mumbai or any city of India. The Unions should be allowed to raise their tariffs in accordance with the fuel prices but at the same time follow some regulations. Most people use rickshaws or taxis because there are no other modes of transport to serve the last-leg of most journeys in a big city.

    Public transportation needs to be affordable but not dirt cheap as how it is in the city. The city needs an unified transport agency on the lines of Transport for London. The revenues earned by the services should go back to fund its operations and upgrading. Private transport companies should be allowed to serve the whole of metropolitan areas and any sustainable mode of transport should be encouraged by simultaneously regulating private motorised modes(pvm). Fuel surcharge for private usage, Road tax, Congestion charges should be levied and credit should be not given for purchase of any cars, scooters for personal use. Cities should attract only those highly skilled people who have assured means of livelihood. A city catering to extremes is bound to face such problems. The better standard of living needs to be assured for the middle class more importantly than being liable towards the rich and the poor.

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  • It seems like more regulations like instituting uniform meters for all auto rickshaws and packing more people per car would benefit more residents of Mumbai rather than one interest group. Plus there is no shortage of riders and less clogged streets would make everyone’s line of work more efficient.

  • Yojimbo

    Yeah, yeah – Pile on the misery for the auto-drivers. Since they dont have the courage to take on the Govt. to reform inflation-fuel hike related meaures, they also target the auto-drivers.
    The Govt. increases public transport fares and fleets so smoothly but does nothing similar for auto and taxi drivers who have to go on a strike for a Rs 2 fare hike.
    Creative campaign !! – Sheesh – Against daily subsistence workers. How low can these guys go ??

  • Some Progress Made By Meter Jammers Creative Campaign @meterjam #India #rickshaws
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