Friday, June 21, 2024

Taxi woes continue to bedevil commuters in city


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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Taxi woes continue to bedevil commuters as local cabbies in the town are overcharging the public, right and left. Commuters travelling in various routes said that the local cabbies have fixed Rs10 as the minimum rate for traveling, now.

Speaking to The Shillong Times, a commuter travelling on the Raj Bhawan – Polo route said that cabbies have suddenly started charging Rs10 per passenger instead of Rs 5. Another such commuter from Laban said that he has been charged Rs10 instead of Rs 5 from Dhobighat (Lower Laban) to IGP Point. Commuters said that sometimes they are bound to hire a cab in order to reach certain areas where other modes of communication do not go.

But commuters’ woes do not end here. They said that in the absence of any clear cut rate card from the side of the government, they are at the receiving end. “The government has increased the rate following the booking formula whereas cabbies are charging on sharing basis and in the end the commuter suffers,” said a resident of Fire Brigade.

There are instances when commuters have to quarrel with the taxi drivers for being overcharged. A passenger who had a brawl with one such driver recently said that passengers are also to be blamed for this. “Why commuters allow passengers like cattle inside cabs, when they can’t travel comfortably. Can’t they protest collectively,” she questioned adding that she tried to raise a voice on a number of occasions but did not receive any support from her mute co-passengers.

Another such commuter said that it has been seen that commuters very often take the stand of the cab driver and rebuke at the co-passenger for not giving in to the demand of the drivers or accommodate in a given space. “I was once told by a passenger that if I cannot sit in the allotted space than I can hire an entire cab,” said a passenger who travels between the busy Khyndailad – Laitumkhrah route. “It goes a long way in putting the fact that commoners here are not aware of their rights and they go begging to the dictating cab driver,” said a tourist who once hired a local cabbie for local sightseeing only to realize that he has to only adjust to the demands of the inhospitable cab driver.

Another problem with the cabbies is that they take passengers on their own whims and fancies besides commuters who travel long distances said that they are also at the receiving end since there is no proper rate card in place. “I was charged Rs120 for traveling from Nongthymmai to Rilbong,” said a resident of Dum Dum adding none knows what is the actual rate for this distance.

Meanwhile, a driver of local cab said that he leaves home by 8am daily in search of livelihood. “I am driving this taxi on behalf of my owner and I have to pay him Rs400 everyday. I get a meagre salary of Rs2500 which is not at all sufficient to survive in today’s inflation,” said the driver. Many other drivers in the town have expressed similar reactions.

W Jyrwa, General Secretary, East Khasi Hills District Local Taxi Welfare Association (EKHDLTWA) said that they are going to have a meeting with the government by first week of November in order to resolve these issues. “As of now, we are following the sharing system whereas the government does not recognize it and follows the booking system,” he said. Informing further, he said that till now the government has not come up with any rate cards and a cab is charging Rs30 as a minimum fare that has to be shared by four passengers. He also informed that around 80% of the local cabbies are owned by owners whereas the remaining is fully owned by the drivers.

It has been learnt that rate cards are followed in neighboring Guwahati for any mode of communication except auto service. A resident of Guwahati speaking to this daily said that the rate card is strictly followed in buses and other modes and none dares to charge anything extra or over the prescribed rates.

“People here avoid auto since they runs only on booking. But communication here is very good as we have many options in place,” she said.

J Lyngdoh, Chairman, Regional Transport Authority (RTA) clarified that there is a notification on rate card earlier.

“The display of rate card in cabbies is something that the government has to look into urgently,” he said.

He also said that the SP, who was not well these days, will be in service to check these issues.


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