Refusal by cabbies or rickshaw drivers to ply short distances doesn’t surprise Mumbaiites anymore, though it’s an offence under the law.
Refusing a fare is punishable with a fine of up to Rs 200 and a suspension of the licence, but few citizens lodge a complaint on the traffic police website.
Commuters can also approach the nearest traffic chowkie or police station. The driver would be charged under the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Rules (1989). Licences of repeated offenders could be cancelled.
In the past three months, the police fined 2,977 taxi and rickshaw drivers for refusing fares. Last year, the traffic police fined 10,543 rickshaw and taxi drivers, but the menace continues.
Traffic officials said they can only fine errant drivers. “It is up to the Regional Transport Office to cancel the permit,” said Ashok Takalkar, assistant commissioner of police (traffic), South Region. “We regularly initiate drives against errant drivers.”
Taxi and rickshaw drivers, however, claimed they never refuse fares or blame it on poor road conditions.