Agitating taxi operators end protest

KATHMANDU, August 13

The government and agitating taxi entrepreneurs reached an agreement on Thursday to form a high-level committee to study the cab operators’ concerns. Following the accord, taxi entrepreneurs have also decided to withdraw their protest.

After Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) decided to add new taxis after a gap of 15 years, cab operators had launched a protest with a demand to roll back the decision to register new cabs and cancel the provision of sending cabs older than 20 years to the scrapyard.

“A committee will be formed including representatives of taxi entrepreneurs and concerned government agencies to study the issues raised by taxi entrepreneurs,” said Devendra Karki, officiating secretary of MoPIT. “But, there will be no changes to government’s decision to register new taxis.”

A high-level committee to be formed to look into cabbies’ concerns

In the first phase, the government plans to register 1,850 units of new taxis by involving interested investors, those who want to be self-employed, and existing cab operators in Kathmandu Valley.

In this regard, the Transport Management Office, Bagmati, has been collecting applications from interested individuals from August 5. The deadline for application submission is on August 19. As of on Thursday, more than 5,000 individuals have submitted their applications, according to the officials of the transport management office. Most of the applicants have shown interest to be self-employed by operating cabs.

In the next phase, there is a plan to add 500 more cabs in the names of family members of those who were affected in the April and May quakes. Also, there are plans to register 500 deluxe cabs by involving private firms.

MoPIT had decided to add new cabs despite reservations from the transporters after a surge in complaints of poor quality service, haphazard charging from customers, and the registration of cabs being halted for a long time despite huge population rise in the Valley.

With huge number of cab operators taking part in the protest, the Valley had been facing a shortage of taxis. There are around 5,600 cabs in operation in the Valley, primarily dominated by 800cc model of Maruti Suzuki. Alto of Maruti Suzuki and EON DLite and EON DLite+ of Hyundai brands, among others, will be the new cabs plying on the Valley roads.