Police tries to make mandal-hopping less troublesome for devotees by taking action against taxi drivers who refuse to ply
Thanks to a new drive by the Mumbai Traffic Police department, passengers no longer have to plead and fight with picky taxi drivers. They can register a complaint against cabbies with on-duty officials.
Recently, the traffic department recently caught more than 10,000 taxi drivers for refusing passengers. Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, Ravi Gidde, Inspector, Officer-in-charge of Byculla Traffic Division said, "A week before Ganpati festival, Mumbai Traffic Police conducted a drive against taxi drivers who inconvenience passengers by turning them down. Around 10,000 cabbies across Mumbai (500 in Byculla region) were caught during the drive."
According to the official, this has lead to fewer taxi drivers now refusing passengers. "If passengers still face difficulties, they can complain to our officials on duty. We will make sure that strict action is taken against the driver," he added.
However, despite the efforts of the Traffic Police, commuters in the city continue to face trouble. "We were waiting in the Navasachi Line at Lalbaug for 12 hours on Tuesday. After our darshan, we had to wait for another half hour before we got a taxi," said Vaishali Nimbalkar, a Bhandup resident.
According to some taxi drivers, the large crowds and traffic jams around various mandals across the city are main reasons why many of their colleagues refuse to ply.
"A passenger who wanted to go from Lower Parel to Andheri (W) got into my cab on Friday. It took two hours to reach his destination because of traffic jams. I was only able to earn Rs 600 that day. of that amount, Rs 450 went to the taxi owner as rent. What is the point of driving a taxi? I have decided not to operate during the festival season," said Sriram Pandey, a taxi driver from Marine Lines.
Pandey is not the only taxi driver who has refused to work this festive season. About 30 per cent of taxis are off the road.
The taxi unions, however, blame the government for the shortage. "Due to a shortage of cab drivers, 30 per cent of all taxis are not plying. It's thanks to the arbitrary policy of the government, which states that anyone who does not possess papers that show he is a domicile of the state will not be given a taxi permit. Even taxis services like Meru are short of drivers. We want the government to take a serious decision on the issue if they don't wish that the situation worsens," said AL Quadros, President of the Mumbai Taximen Union.
According to Quadros, 10,000 permits are lying with the RTO waiting for clearance. The old cabbies are not in a condition to operate but they are forced to because of the ongoing crisis.
State Transport Commissioner VN More said, "The issue of permit clearance is for Mantralaya to deal with. Taxi drivers come up with various excuses.
The fact is that they are in no mood to operate." "We have a special squad that is monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, I would also request commuters to call our helpline numbers and furnish details of taxis that refuse to ply," he added.
To register a complaint against taxis refusing to ply, call: 1800220110