It is shocking that touts inside Mumbai’s swanky T2 terminal are demanding money for free trolleys from passengers and flummoxed passengers, stressed out with the arrival process, are agreeing to pay the amount.
The report states that the touts are not from outside, as is usually the case, but staffers themselves. They make unsuspecting passengers shell out as much as $20 (R1,200) just to drop them to the exit gate.
Trolleys are hidden, so that the passengers can’t find them. The passengers then approach the staffers, who offer to find a trolley and drop them to their vehicles in exchange for an amount picked at random, usually around $20. When asked, the authorities claimed that passengers should complain to the police in case money is demanded of them and action will be taken.
Instead of simply waiting for complaints, authorities need to be proactive on staffers trying to extract money from passengers and touts. The T2 is a swanky, international class airport and everything about it should live up to the label.
Every effort must be made to iron out problems to see that people are justifiably proud of this superb terminal.
A tourist’s first impression of a city or a country is at the airport itself. That is the initial impression they form and first impressions are lasting ones. If they are fleeced on arrival itself, they are going to carry a negative view of the country.
Westerners are often warned about touts in India, while some of these warnings may be exaggerated, there is truth to them too. Yet, the last place they can expect to be accosted by touts is the inside of an international terminal! Let us not make the stereotype of a nation of cheaters stick at the arrival stage itself.
Moreover, there should be easy and accessible complaint desks set up for passengers who can complain if they suspect they are being taken for a ride. Touts at T2 should know there is only one destination for them — out.
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