Before getting into the fateful cab in which she was raped on Wednesday night in Moti Bagh, the 20-year-old spent an hour trying to get a public transport to Noida.
But she couldn’t get one. When a man driving a cab offered to drop her at her destination for Rs 20, she took the offer rather than choosing to be stranded on the ‘rape capital’s’ streets on a winter’s night.
With Delhi’s poor bus service, and auto drivers refusing rides, many cabs operate illegally as share taxis without any fear of being impounded.
Neither the transport department, nor the traffic police initiated any lasting crackdown on the illegal taxis, many of them run even without a licence, looking to make a quick buck.
HT found a number of spots where cabs are illegally operating as ‘shared taxis’ for rates much cheaper than that of cab aggregators and radio taxis.
A number of such eager drivers line up during the night at Mayur Vihar Phase 1 and Akshardham to take multiple passengers to Noida or Ghaziabad for as low as Rs 10-20. “I have taken such cabs a couple of times to travel to Wazirabad in North Delhi from Kashmere Gate ISBT. They wait until the cab is full, but the journey is more comfortable as the cars are air-conditioned and most importantly, it is cheap,” said Rup Kishore, who works in a spare parts shop in Kashmere Gate.
The illegal cabs run mostly on the Delh-NCR route as travel to workplace in Noida and Gurgaon.
Unauthorised private buses run between Delhi’s bus terminals and neighbouring states of Haryana, UP and Rajasthan. They operate mostly at night and run without an inter-state permit.
“Crackdowns keep happening as we have teams deployed for the purpose. In May, we seized 52 buses that were illegally plying in the city,” a government official explained.
It has been seven months since the last crackdown.
“Even cars plying under cab aggregators aren’t safe as many of them still do not have the mandatory GPS trackers,” said a traffic police official.