BSM to take two months to change cab-meter calibration

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 6:

The Bureau of Standards and Metrology (BSM) has begun changing metre calibration of taxis running in the Valley after the government decided to increase taxi fares following the hike in petrol price.

The Deputy Director General of the BSM, Dr Sitaram Joshi, said the bureau has the capacity to change the calibration of only 60 taxis a day. Therefore, it would take at least two months to change the metres of all the 4,000 cabbies plying in the Valley. He said that the bureau had begun to change the calibration with the help of a machine since January 20, 2005. Joshi said a conversion chart has been issued to those taxi-drivers who have not changed their metre calibration. The government has decided to increase the minimum charge from Rs 7 to Rs 8 and the current rate of Rs 2.80 would be raised to Rs 3 for every 200 metres distance.

However, a taxi driver, Ram Thapa of Dadhikot Bhaktapur, said he is not aware of conversion chart but charges the passengers Rs 2 to 5 depending on the distance. He claimed that the drivers charge up to 20 per cent more than the metre reading. According to him, most of the drivers have tampered with their metres. “The traffic police does not punish them when they are caught, they instead demand a bribe,” he said, adding that no metre is reliable and it depends on drivers.

Even the new provision of metre with a printer — which is mandatory for registering

new taxis — have been affected as a case at the Supreme Court is sub-judice. Joshi said that

the installation of metres with printers would also take a few months.

A passenger complained that he was not provided the bill by the taxi having a printing metre. Another passenger, Bhupendra Khadka, said there should be strict laws to curb the monopoly of taxi-drivers as most of them cheat passengers.