If the transport department’s plans are successful, you will soon see ‘for-hire’ indicators atop all taxis in the city, declaring whether they are engaged or available.
The indicators will have three options—for-hire, hired and off-duty—and will be made mandatory for all taxis and auto rickshaws plying in the city.
The transport department has also called for suggestions from passengers, consumer activists and unions to help improve the implementation. “Anyone who has suggestions to make can contact us before January-end,” said transport commissioner VN More.
Hoping that this move will prove effective in curbing refusals by taxi and auto drivers as well as tiffs between passengers and drivers, the transport commissioner added that it will be implemented in phases, first for taxis and then for auto rickshaws.
The transport department has already outlined basic technical specifications for these indicators and has uploaded it on department’s website. The orange light will indicate that the cab is available, green if the cab is already hired and white if it is off-duty.
“For auto rickshaws we are planning to use signs along with colour codes,” said More. He added that they were working on practical difficulties in fixing indicators on the soft roofs of autos. He also added that rules needed to be changed as there was no provision of an ‘off-duty’ sign and a corresponding colour code in law books.
Presently, most black and yellow taxis do not have such indicators often leading to arguments between commuters and taxis.
Commuters also complain that often, particularly at night, it is hard to tell if an approaching taxi is occupied or available.
Pleased by the decision, consumer activist, AV Shenoy said, “Transport authorities must also ensure that stern action is taken against them if they refuse to ply.”