If you have been inadvertantly put on hold for a little longer than expected whenever you called to hire a fleet cab for a short distance only to be told later that ‘no cabs are available’, you can soon call up on the transport helpline number and lodge a complain against the errant operator.
The state transport department has proposed to accept complaints on their helpline number — 1800-22-0110 — that is presently used to call against taxis and autorickshaw drivers.
This system will get operational in a few months. “We are working on a software which will allow us to accept complaints against fleet cab companies on our helpline number,” said SK Sharma, transport secretary.
Currently, if a complainant calls the transport helpline number, he needs to furnish details, including the taxi/autorickshaw number, if not the driver’s name along with day, date and time of incident. Once the software is developed, the complainant can lodge a complaint against any of the fleet cab companies.
Most of the complaints registered at this number pertain to refusal to ply short distance, fare issues, apart from rude behaviour.
The fleet cab companies say that they are helpless until the eleventh hour as they are still unaware about the schedule of their drivers. “It all depends on the availability of a driver closest to the passenger requesting a cab. If a driver is not available, then there is no point in promising the customer that a cab would be available at the said time,” said a spokesperson from Meru Cabs, who have 2,100 vehicles in their fleet.
The companies say they can track down a vehicle and figure out if a vehicle is running empty only if the driver keeps the global positioning system (GPS) switched on.
But if it is switched off, the call centre will fail to locate it.
“We do take bookings two hours prior to the scheduled journey time, but can send a confirmation message to a customer only an hour before the schedule time when we are sure about the availability of cabs,” said a spokesperson of Easy Cabs, who operate 350 taxis in the city.
On Thursday, the city’s first prepaid taxi booth outside a railway station was inaugurated at the Mumbai Central station by transport secretary SK Sharma and G Pillai, DRM, Western Railway.
“We are planning to start similar services outside the Dadar and Bandra stations in the next 10 days,” said V More, transport commissioner.