Written by Shriya Dasgupta
Taxi operators in Kolkata have threatened to move court if the transport department fails to respond to their letter and allow them to migrate to app-based cab service. They want meters to be removed from their vehicles.
The Bengal Taxi Association (BTA) had appealed to the State Transport Department to allow them to launch an app for their services in 2018.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bimal Guha, BTA general secretary, said, “We gave a letter to the Transport Minister on June 3 but haven’t got a response yet. We will go to the court if they don’t bring all taxis under the purview of this app within the next seven days. We spoke to them about this before also. But no action was taken. Passengers are being harassed on a daily basis in the name of “refusal” and this menace can be tackled only through the app. It will also help taxi owners track their drivers.”
The popularity of the traditional yellow taxis took a beating with the entry of app-based cabs, including Ola and Uber. “I prefer booking cabs on phone rather than going out and looking for a yellow taxi. The yellow taxi operators mostly refuse our route and demand extra fare,” said Neha Singh, a stationery shop owner.
Guha said upgrading of yellow taxis is required to keep up with the competitive environment. “Taxi operators say unless meters are removed, it is not possible to install app-based technology in yellow taxis. As per sources, there are 26,000 thousand yellow taxis plying in Kolkata,” he said.
“Upgrading the yellow taxis will be a good initiative. But app-based cabs, including Uber and Ola, charge less then yellow taxis with better services. Hence, it is doubtful if it would be beneficial for passengers,” said Sukanya Maiti, a Jadavpur University student.
(Shriya Dasgupta is an intern with The Indian Express)