Increase cabs in line with population growth: NCF


National Consumer Forum (NCF) has demanded that the government increase number of taxis in the Kathmandu Valley in line with population growth. It said that the government has been failing to add new taxis due to political pressure and biasness towards transport entrepreneurs.

The call from the consumer forum has come at a time when the government is planning to add a total of 2,850 new taxis, including 500 deluxe cabs. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) has already taken a decision in this regard and Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has started doing the homework for its implementation.

At present, there are estimated 5,600 cabs in operation in the Valley. The total number of taxis in the Valley will increase to 8,500 units, if the plan to add new cabs goes smoothly. However, NCF has demanded that the government increase the total number of cabs to 40,000 units, considering the population of four million in the Valley. The government has not added new taxis since last 15 years.

On Sunday, NCF submitted a memorandum at the Prime Minister’s Office stating ‘the existing 5,600 taxis in the Capital are causing nuisance rather than providing efficient service’. It has also urged Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to take the issue of new taxis seriously and review MoPIT’s decision regarding the same.

Based on MoPIT’s decision, DoTM has already started the homework to add 1,850 new taxis in the first phase, giving priority to owners of old taxis (that are off the roads) to register new ones. To this effect, a public notice had been issued last week.

In the next phase, the government plans to allow operation of 500 new taxis involving members of the quake-hit families. To be eligible, at least one member of the family needs to have driving licence for four-wheeler.

New taxi registration facility will be provided to the affected families of 14 districts. DoTM officials said that they will start the work on permitting registration of new taxis to the member of earthquake-hit families as soon as the government completes distribution of quake-affected certificates to such families. DoTM, as per the decision of the MoPIT, has also been working to add 500 deluxe cabs by involving companies in the third phase.

A DoTM official said that government is also planning to add super deluxe taxis based on the experience garnered through operation of deluxe cabs. “However, allowing operation of 40,000 cabs in the Valley seems unfeasible due to limited roads and huge number of other public vehicles already in operation,” the official added.