Chennai. A man has successfully entered his name in the Guinness Book of World Records by paying the highest amount of auto fare recorded till date. Sources from Chennai say that after this man (name kept anonymous on request from Auto Association of Chennai and HSBC – the auto driver’s preferred bank) took a ride in an auto from Velachery to T. Nagar, he paid a whooping 23,000 Rupees as auto fare.
“To be honest, I was expecting it to be around 30,000 Rs. I have been living in this city and have often touched payments of 9,000 – 10,000 Rs. This day, when for the first time I was taking an auto for more than 3 kms distance, I knew in my heart that I am going to achieve something big,” the man confirmed.
Although his salary will allow him only Rs 7,000 left in his wallet for the month, he is excited to be on the record book.
The full story was told to us by the driver T. Mohan, “The man was in a hurry. He had to reach a jewellery store asap to sell off something in order to raise money to get his kidney operation done. I got to know this while he was speaking on the phone, and knew that we could make this as the record ride. After getting down, I asked him for Rs 25,000. Going by his looks, I agreed to bargain and we settled at Rs 23,000. Thankfully he had his credit card, to which he added Rs 3000 in cash. His card limit was Rs. 20,000 you see. It was me who suggested to convert it to EMIs so that he can take more auto rides, even one back to Velachery if he wanted to.”
“The math behind this is complex,” says Professor A B Aryabhatta, (HOD – Maths and Applied AstroPhysics at IIT-Madras), “So complex that only a handful of auto drivers will be able to understand this. For us normal human beings, we can simply put it as a function of gas/petrol expense, waiting time expense, psychological cost of taking an auto ride, and the psychological cost of emergency situation. We have forwarded our thesis on this cost model to NASA, and they have promised to work on this exciting and complex function. We expect them to take 3 to 4 years to understand the function completely and open its explanation and interpretation for the public.” Meanwhile Mr. Ian and Mr. Rajender from Velachery have cried foul, claiming that its their title to claim. They have allegedly paid a whooping Rs 45,000 to take an auto ride from Tambaram to Mahabalipuram. The plea was rejected on the ground that Mahabalipuram is not in Chennai, and hence this record will fall in a separate category “Inter City”.
The current record for Inter state category for highest auto fare is with a Delhi based individual Mr. Arora, who paid Rs. 49,000 in 2004 for a ride from Mehrauli to Gurgaon Sector 30. Adjusting for inflation, the amount today will be approximately Rs. 73,000.
“We are excited to be on the news and the Guinness Book, but also worried at the same time at how will we eat during the coming months due to shortage of funds,” the record maker’s wife exclaimed.
The auto drivers union has brushed this as just another brick in the wall, and are optimistic that this record will be broken as soon as someone will agree to take an auto ride from Tambaram to Mogappair.