Cabbies making fast buck at people’s cost

Kathmandu, October 22;

Valley denizens have been finding it difficult to move around, thanks to exorbitant taxi fares and reduction in the number of public vehicles on the road during Dashain.

People visit places of their relatives during Dashain — from Vijaya Dashami till Purnima —to receive tika and blessings. The people have been feeling the

pinch as the number of vehicles on the road has gone down by half. Moreover, taxies have been charging the people almost double the usual fare. People grudge that they have been exploited.

Refusing to turn on metres, taxi drivers have been charging the people as per their wish. They have been making anyone willing to go to Ratnapark from Koteshwor pay Rs 150, which is double the usual fare.

Purna Krishna Shrestha, a taxi driver, said in Koteshwor, “This is time for us to have some income.”

“We also have to celebrate Dashain. Since we have been serving people during the festival without being at home with our families, it is our right to make some profit.” He added that the petroleum crisis has also contributed to the fare hike.

Taxi drivers say that since petrol is unavailable in the market, they have no option except to buy petrol in black market. That is why, we have been compelled to charge high.

Another taxi driver, Nure Sherpa, said they are buying a litre of petrol for Rs 100, which used to cost just Rs 67. “Petrol is not available since Fulpati. Since we are spending so much, it is but natural for us to hike the taxi fare.”

Nevertheless, commoners complain that a few public vehicles are inadequate for the flock of people, and paying double the normal fare for the taxis is unfair. “The government should do something to stop this,” one Akriti Thapa said, adding that public vehicles are not easily available. “Taxies are unaffordable for many, since they are too expensive.”