Share cabs, taxis fleecing passengers

Jun 06, 2013, 07:05 IST | Shashank Rao

If the fare fixed by the RTO is Rs 8, then drivers are surreptitiously rounding it off to Rs 10; commuters have requested that the fare for the route and its starting and end point be mentioned inside the vehicles, as well as at the stands

The idea of sharing cabs seems ideal in a city where drivers refuse more often than they agree to take passengers to their destinations of choice. But citizens who are fortunate enough to be living near share taxi or share auto stands have been complaining about the lack of a system governing the same, allowing drivers to fleece their passengers.

Irate passengers have been demanding that separate charts be pasted inside share autos or taxis, visible to passengers. They have suggested that mentioning the fares on the notice board at the end points of share-taxi and share-auto routes would also enlighten people about the exact fares.

The practice of overcharging passengers is rampant in areas like Andheri, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Bandra and other locations on both central and western suburbs. “It is often found that at several places where share-rickshaw or share-taxi schemes operate, the drivers charge more than they should. So we want fares to be displayed at the stand so that they are clearly visible and people aren’t cheated,” said A Shenoy, transport expert and member of the Mumbai Vikas Samiti.

He added, “Arrangements should also be made so people stand in queues in an orderly manner.” Commuters have been complaining that the actual fares are being rounded off – for instance, if the fare fixed by the RTO is Rs 8, the cab drivers charge Rs 10. Sources in the auto union say that with complaints pouring in, they have already started making remedial arrangements. “Many times the locals complain about the fare issues. So we are taking the necessary steps to display fares for the route,” said auto union leader Shashank Rao.

He added that the arrangements are already in place at Borivli and Kandivli on the western suburbs. The notices fitted behind the driver’s seat display his name, the start and end points of the route he is plying on, the fare, the vehicle number, and variations in routes during peak hours.

Meanwhile, the state transport department and RTOs want to extend the use of six-seater taxis on the city roads, replacing the existing four-seater ones. “In a city where space is a big issue, six-seater taxis can be used for the share-taxi scheme. It would benefit both the passenger and the drivers,” said Transport Commissioner VN More. Officials from the RTO claimed that the six-seater taxis would reduce the waiting time in queues, especially during peak hours. Also, drivers will earn more from each trip. At present, the Maruti Eeco taxis can accommodate six passengers. There are around 200 such black and yellow cabs plying on the city roads. 

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