Kathmandu, December 14
Traffic police today said they had stepped up action against unscrupulous cabbies in Kathmandu valley.
According to statistics released by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, traffic cops booked as many as 552 taxi drivers over a period of one week. Traffic personnel, both in uniform and civvies, have been deployed in busy areas, including hospitals and bus parks, to monitor rule violations like operating taxis without the mandatory seal on fare-meter, refusal to provide short distance service to passengers, tampering with and using defunct meter, and bargaining over fare without turning on the meter.
SSP Basanta Kumar Panta, MTPD in-charge, said an average of 80 cabbies were being booked for their involvement in unfair business practices. He encouraged passengers to call at traffic control room (103) or send SMS to 9851295100 or file a complaint through MTPD’s Facebook page to initiate action against dishonest taxi drivers.
MTPD informed that the recent crackdown was aimed at deterring the cabbies from overcharging and cheating commuters. Unscrupulous cabbies mostly cheat people waiting for taxis in hospital, bus park and airport areas, and busy thoroughfares of the city. Traffic police have been keeping a close watch on taxis in the daytime and at night when they try to fleece passengers taking advantage of emergencies and non-availability of public vehicles.
Cabbies who refuse to serve passengers by turning on fare-meter are referred to the Transport Management Office for necessary action and are fined Rs 2,000 each. Similarly, if a taxi driver is found operating with a tampered meter, the National Bureau of Standards and Metrology may impose on him/her a fine of up to Rs 5,000, along with a warning in the first instance to fix the meter. Those refusing to travel short distance and overcharging passengers are punished by traffic police with a fine of Rs 1,500 each.
In the fiscals 2016-17 and 2017-18, 4,518 and 8,120 taxis were booked for their involvement in various offences respectively. Many of the cabs were repeat offenders. Around 10,000 taxis operate in the valley. If the data of unscrupulous taxi drivers are analysed, no cabbie is found to be doing his/her business honestly.
Recently, MTPD had announced that driving licence of any cabbie found involved in any of the offences for six times would be suspended for six months under the Vehicle and Transport Management Act.
A version of this article appears in print on December 15, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.