Pay The Correct Fare

Hate to admit this but auto rickshaw meter tampering in India is quite common. The drivers get away with their devious plan because the current meter calculates fare based on the rotations of the wheel of the vehicle. This system can be easily tampered with; hence a lot of us end up getting duped! The A-Rix hopes to solve this problem by offering a tamper-proof device that calculates fare with the help of a GPS Chip.

The way it works is that GPS Navi system is used to calculate the fare. But a major drawback I foresee is that town planning is very poor in most cities where autos ply. This could hamper accurate calculation. Moreover, traffic is such a major concern that it may not be feasible to calculate fare merely based on distances. Traffic snarls = fuel wastage. Lastly GPS navigation is nascent in India, and our auto drivers are known to protest / strike / oppose any legitimate changes that ensure transparency!

I reckon A-Rix would do better in any other country!


  • Backlit LCD ensures readability at night
  • Location information via GPS
  • Fare counter with big type for easy readability
  • Accurate distance measurement for a tamper proof meter
  • Clock
  • Circular marquee to indicate one currency unit cycle
  • Hired status indicator at rear side for easy identification
  • Night Time extra charges automatically updated

Designer: Siddharth Vanchinathan

UPDATE: A slight clarification on the A-Rix’s working by the designer. The GPS doesn’t calculate the fare in advance. When the meter is started, it records the starting position and then every 1 s finds out current coordinates. It can then measure distance between two consecutive points and a summation of those will give the total distance traveled. It calculates distance in real time, hence it is not dependent on town planning or destination coordinates.

A-Rix from siddharth vanchinathan on Vimeo.



A-Rix Auto Rickshaw Fare Meter by Siddharth Vanchinathan


  • Tamper proof and accurate great,
    The styling is too bland for my liking not paying homage to the funkier electro mechanical version also pectured.

  • pixelsnader says:

    what’s there to be tampered? you strike a deal before you get in the rickshaw. if you are arguing about the costs calculated on price per mile, well they can just knock that price up a few cents. there.

  • Hunter says:

    who pays for the $300 GPS that will make the cheating drivers less money?

    • siddharth says:

      the gps device isn’t gonna cost as much as the car navigation devices. it’s a basic gps receiver that can measure distance based on coords. the chip hardly costs Rs. 1200 ($25 approx) and could come down on mass production.

  • Marzaday says:

    Customer buy-in is a huge part of product design. There is no point designing a product thats all shiny and solves the problem if the end user does not buy into it. The product will remain on the shelf and not make any money…. in fact its production will cost you money.

    In your statement you say this product would not work well in India, yet you have based your pitch around India. Have you researched the problem in other countries? do they have the problem? If you pitched this to a client/ investor they would not understand why you chose to explain your product using a scenario that it would not work in.

    This design problem is bigger than just creating a new product. It involves changing values. How would you convince a cabbie that he should charge the right fare?? thats a hard one as everyone loves a little extra in their pocket.

    Time and time again on this site designers proudly hold aloft the answer to all the problems and have forgotten to ask the most important question – Does my intended end user want this? and if they do, how do I know this?

    Always research at the beginning, in the middle and even after you have designed a product. End user feedback is the key, not just producing something and declaring that is the solution.

    On a slightly more positive note. I like the clean presentation of your concept. Everything is clear and easy to understand. A little more internal information i.e. how is it powered, would help (not for me but the client you want to buy in to this concept).

    Keep up the good work.

    • siddharth says:

      This is not meant to be bought off shelves willingly by the cabbies. Even simple digital meters have to be made mandatory by the local authorities for the cabbies to install them. Here, force is the only language that they understand.

      The end user in this case is actually the passenger riding the rickshaw and not the driver himself. But the passenger is not paying anything for the meter, only the fare for the travel. It’s an irony of sorts.

      Talking about commercials, the existing digital meters cost Rs. 3,000 ($60 approx). Taking everything into consideration, the A-Rix should cost about Rs. 5,000. I agree it will be difficult to push the idea initially but when the authorities understand and value the benefits of this over traditional meters, then the acceptance will grow.

      And I never said it would not work in India. Those are the thoughts of the author of this piece. It was designed for the Indian market!

      • taxi 112 says:

        its a problem if u have to use a tunnel say the tunnel is a mile long thats a mile it has not clocked up also what about waiting time when u r stuck in traffic also how do u know what rate the a tariff is ????? never going to work

  • mif991 says:

    Nice concept. I think though that the product you designed does not look like it belongs with the old vehicle you pictured. I would ask you to design the whole package, vehicle and meter.

  • taxi 112 says:

    what happens when u go through a tunnel u will lose the gps singnal and wont clock the miles ?????

    • siddharth says:

      that’s a problem only if ur destination is inside a tunnel. normal service resumed once you exit the tunnel

      • taxi 112 says:

        no its still a problem if u have to use a tunnel say the tunnel is a mile long thats a mile it has not clocked up also what about waiting time when u r stuck in traffic also how do u know what rate the a tariff is ????? never going to work

        • siddharth says:

          no problem if the tunnel is a mile long. i dont think you understood the GPS system correctly. inside a tunnel it won’t get signal, but when it goes out, the coords are of the exit. and the coords of the entrance are there. the distance can easily be computed from that.

          fare charts are a trivial issue. the software will need to be tweaked for different tariff charts.

          waiting time is no issue absolutely. if two consecutive coords are the same, then it’s counted as waiting time with a separate fare for it.

  • Andrew says:

    How much do you think it would it cost to develop and implement? Just a ballpark figure.

  • sahil says:

    Its a good idea to implement GPS . either a GPS based auto meter or the passender with a GPS device and GPS application which calculates the fare based on distance.But defnitely is a negative impact on the income that auto drivers make .. definely they will protest.and they wil look out for alternatines to make income .. but its should be implemented.. because Auto guys nowadsya are cheating people and making money

  • siddus says:

    the fare should also be visible on the reverse side of the meter to facilitate easy viewing of the fare to the driver.

    Good design but GPS solution doesnt sound feasible as it will add to the overall cost of producing such a design.

  • sebastian says:

    you mentioned about calculation of waiting time fare…can u explain how does the GPS calculate the waiting time fare….pls do reply….

  • sebastian says:

    you mentioned about calculation of waiting time fare…can u explain how does the GPS calculate the waiting time fare….pls do reply….

  • sidv says:

    When the auto is stationary, the GPS does not update. A timer starts that keeps a tag on the time the auto is stationary. It is multiplied with the wait time fare and added to the total. Easy!

  • Gopi says:

    Sid! Love the design! We’re a Dial-a-Rickshaw startup in Pune and we use GPS! Check us out:

    Would love to feature your design on our website. Do email me!

  • Thanks for sharing such a pleasant thought, paragraph is pleasant, thats why i have read it fully

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