Living up to its promise, the Transport Department of the Delhi government has decided to flag off the first batch of air-conditioned taxis in the city on Friday. These taxis can be hired after dialing the number of the control room and the passengers would be required to pay Rs 15 per km.
To be available round the clock, the control room would contact the taxi driver nearest to the place from where the demand has been made and make available the service.
Though the scheme was floated for the first time more than three years ago, the government issued Letter of Intent to players like Mega Cab, Hertz and Metro Cab recently.
Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf said this was a part of the larger government plan to overhaul the public transport system, keeping in view the trend worldwide. He said Global Positioning System (GPS) would also be installed for smooth functioning of the fleet. He said several major players have shown keen interest in the project and the government is considering presentations to this effect.
Santosh Aggarwal, the chief of Metro Cab said by March next year, the company would be running 500 such taxis in the city. "We plan to take the figure to 3,000 by 2010 when the Commonwealth Games are scheduled in the Capital," he said. Metro Cab would initially have Tata Indigo Marino in the fleet but other cars too would be introduced later on, Aggarwal said.
While issuing the licenses for the AC taxis, the Transport Department has laid down certain conditions - trained and courteous drivers with complaint free service.
The much cheaper but difficult to get black and yellow taxis would not be phased out. "They will continue to operate so that the commuters have a wider choice," the Transport Minister added.