Mechanical Meter tampering
Tampering with a mechanical meter is a very simple process. Mechanical meters were present in all the auto rickshaws till 2006.
In mechanical meters, gears will be connected to the rear axle of the auto rickshaw. Depending on how fast the wheels rotate, the gears rotate, and so does the meter. Tampering is done by filling the teeth of the gears with additional material packing. This will make the wheels turn faster and thus the meter will show a higher price. This results in an increase in auto fares by 5%, 10% and even 25%.
There was a lot of public anger against meter tampering, so the Government made it compulsory for all auto drivers to switch to digital meters.
In digital meters, electric pulses are used to measure both time and distance. To identify the distance travelled, the meter relies on the sensor attached to the rear of the vehicle. The sensor will send an electric pulse to the meter every time the vehicle travels a given distance. There is a timer within the meter, that sends out a pulse, when a certain 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 will lead to altered readings.
These are the 4 ways by which digital meters are tampered:
1. Switch pressing
In this method, a switch will be located under the seat of the driver. Each time the driver presses the switch, the pulse rate of the meter increases.
In this, the auto driver connects the capacitor either to the indicator lamps or the front brake. Whenever the vehicle takes a turn or a brake is pressed, the pulse rate increases and this will lead to an increase in the fare.
3. Wheel Alteration
Wheel Alteration is a mechanical method which relies on rigging the four wheel-like components, which is present in the meter.
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