Valley taxis reluctant to install computerised billing system

Kathmandu, March 7

Though the government had made it mandatory for taxis across the country to install computer billing system from January 1, cab operators seem to be defiant in complying with this decision.

As per Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) — the government body authorised to install computer billing system in cabs — only 1,500 out of the almost 9,500 cabs in Kathmandu Valley have installed the system till date.

Following this unwillingness of taxi operators to instal the system, NBSM also began inspecting taxis plying on the Valley’s roads from Monday to check whether or not they have installed the computer billing system.

Owing to the increasing trend of cab drivers overcharging commuters by tampering the meters, NBSM had published a notice in mid-December last year asking cab operators to instal the system at the earliest. By enforcing this system, NBSM aims to prevent passengers from being ripped off as the system requires taxi operators to issue receipts to their passengers for every ride. The receipt incorporates information like distance travelled, total cab fare and cab number. However, taxi operators are not very keen on complying with the new rule.

“We have time and again asked taxi operators to instal the system as it would help maintain uniformity in taxi fares and would also assure accountability,” said Bishwobabu Pudasaini, director general of NBSM.

Due to the lukewarm response from cab operators, NBSM began aggressive road monitoring from Monday to check whether or not cab operators have installed the system as a very few operators have approached NBSM to instal the system, according to Pudasaini.

“We will take action against cab operators who have not installed the system,” added Pudasaini.

In a bid to encourage taxi operators to fit such system in their cabs, government has also introduced a provision under which taxi operators cannot renew or transfer ownership of taxi if they have not installed computer billing system.

On the other hand, taxi operators in the Valley say that installing the system is quite expensive and it is not durable either.

“The government charges us almost Rs 9,000 to fit the computer billing system, which adds to the financial burden on cab operators,” said Ramesh Karki, a cab operator based in Bhaktapur. Karki further added that the system is also not durable and gets damaged within a few months as per the experience of taxi operators who had earlier installed the system in their taxis.