'Sympathetic' taxi driver fleeces Mumbai family of Rs 1,600

Oct 14, 2016, 07:00 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

Taxi driver offers to drop 52-year-old and family who missed train to Panvel station at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus by 10 minutes. From meter rate to return fare, the trip turns ugly

The passenger (left) and his family was asked to cough up Rs 2,400 for the trip
The passenger (left) and his family was asked to cough up Rs 2,400 for the trip

A 52-year-old man along with his family was allegedly duped by two men, one of whom was a cabbie, who pretended they were helping them catch the train that they had missed from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.

The 52-year-old, who refused to give his name, said last week, he, his wife and daughter had missed the 11.40am Netravati Express train from LTT, Kurla by 10 minutes.

The man, who is a typist by profession, said while they were wondering what to do, two men approached them saying that they could help get them to Panvel station in quick time to catch the train at its next stop.

When he asked the cabbie how much it would cost, he refused to give a figure but kept saying that they (the family) would have to pay whatever the fare on the meter was. Left with no option and despite their suspicions of the meter being rigged, the family got into the taxi.

The cabbie and his friend got into the front seat, which had the windows all rolled up

The man also noticed that the meter was neatly covered with a rubber-like material that prevented the fare from being visible. “I asked them to lift the cover so that I could check whether the reading was accurate or not,” he said, to which, the response was, “What uncle, don’t you have faith in us?”
When the man insisted, the cabbie told him he could take him back to Kurla. When he relented, they told him he would have to pay the return fare from Panvel as well, against the earlier agreed upon ‘fare by the meter’.

Aghast, the man started arguing with the driver, and by the time they had reached their destination, the meter showed a whopping Rs 1,200. This meant that the passenger was expected to pay Rs 2, 400 for his journey.

Finally, after a lot of arguing (the train had reached the platform by then) the passenger paid the duo Rs1, 500 and boarded the train.

No complaint filed
On an average, it takes around Rs 600-700 to reach from Kurla to Panvel, with cab aggregators costing around Rs 330. “Our primary concern was to board the train at the time,” said the man. “We didn’t lodge a complaint after returning because the authorities make you run around. In some cases, they are even hand-in-glove with these conmen.”

GRP DCP, Rupali Ambure, said, "Such cases of cabbies cheating passengers are very rare in our jurisdiction. We have not received any complaint regarding this particular case. As of now we don't have exact data related to such cases."

Taxi drivers do not have an official governing body, so to speak, but come under various unions, which have to follow rules laid down by the regional transport office. Complaints regarding cheating cabbies can be made at police stations. In this specific case, because the cab was taken from outside the Kurla Terminus, the case would have to be filed with the Government Railway Police.

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