The railways are inching towards fixing the longstanding problem of erratic taxi services at the Capital's stations. It has issued tenders to offer space to air-conditioned radio cab companies to operate fleets out of the three major railway stations in Delhi - New Delhi, Old Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin.
The tender has been issued after the success of the "pilot run" at the New Delhi station with Delhi's EasyCabs, that recently started operating from the Paharganj side of the station.
According to the present terms and conditions, the operator pays the railways 15% of what it earns from trips from the station and a one-time lump sum payment of Rs 4 lakh.
In return, it has got a swanky, dedicated radio-cab booth and space to keep 15 cabs ready at all times at the station.
According to the new tender, the Ajmeri Gate side will have double the number of cabs - 30 - on standby at all times, while stations like Nizamuddin and Old Delhi, too, will have similar numbers.
The arrangement at the New Delhi station has been an instant hit.
"Every modern railway station requires an organised, hassle-free taxi service. Prepaid radio cabs are safe, comfortable and hence popular. At the New Delhi station, they are adding a lot of value to passenger amenities," said Ashwani Lohani, divisional railway manager (Delhi), Northern Railways.
Getting a reliable mode of transport from outside railway stations has always been a challenge for passengers.
People have to haggle a lot with non air-conditioned, black-and-yellow taxis, that run in an arbitrary manner and whose union has had its base at the stations for ages.
The rollout of the new service has already invited resistance from the black and yellow taxi unions and auto-rickshaw unions.
"We are happy with the kind of response our service has got. We have also participated in the new tender for more stations," said Rajiv Vij, head of EasyCabs.
As a streamlining process, the railways will be decreasing the number of black-and-yellow taxis and will not allow them to park in large numbers at the railway station.