The Transport Department of the Delhi government wants to install Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments and digital meters in all the taxis running into the city. This, the department feels, would make it easier for the commuters to call a taxi or flag it down on the roadside for any journey.
The proposal was revived after global operator Hertz offered the Delhi government its expertise in the conversion. The cost per taxi would be Rs 50,000 and the operators expect this to meet through advertisements. The government would authorise the taxi operators to use advertisement billboards of a standard size on the taxis as is the practice in several countries to recover the cost.
"We have discussed the proposal and have given in principle approval. We will talk to the taxi unions of the city and impress on the need for the modern GPS system," Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf told Hindustan Times.
There are a little over 5000 black and yellow taxis running in the city. The numbers cannot be increased due to a court order. However, if a taxi is phased out, it can be replaced with the existing permit. The proposal of the government is to install not only the GPS system but also digital meters. "The commuters can get a printed receipt if such meters are installed and there would be no possibility of cheating," said Yusuf.
Three private companies — Metro Radio Cab, Carzenent and Mega Corporation are already running GPS fitted air-conditioned taxis in the city. Their strength would go upto 10,000 by 2010 when the Commonwealth Games are scheduled in the city. Yusuf said if the city has 15,000 GPS fitted taxis, they would help a lot of people using personal vehicles shift to this mode. "We are aiming to motivate people to desist from using personal vehicles with modern commuting facilities like AC taxis, Delhi Metro and the High Capacity Bus System," the minister added.
The three companies offering the AC fleet of cars have a centralised number and the charges are Rs 25 for the first km and Rs 15 for every subsequent km. Credit card swipe machine and online reservations system would be introduced through the website, the companies have promised to the Transport Department.
Email Amitabh Shukla: ashukla @hindustantimes.com