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Put GPS systems in radio taxis to better use

More power to the consumer is our motto, whether buying rajma or a watch. Pushpa Girimaji tells you how to get empowered.

delhi Updated: Dec 17, 2011 23:10 IST
Pushpa Girimaji
Pushpa Girimaji
Hindustan Times

The horrific incident wherein a 22-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a radio taxi driver has completely shattered public trust in these cabs as a safe mode of transport, particularly for women travelling late at night.

Even though radio cabs cost much more than the 'kali-peeli' taxis, people prefer to hire them not just because the vehicles are better, but also because they believe there is diligence on part of the cab companies in the appointment of the drivers. However, Tuesday's incident has put a big question mark on this assumption.

Cab companies have been quick to blame the woman for hailing the first cab that she saw and not making an advance booking, which, they say, would have ensured her safety. But that still does not answer the question about the quality of the driver hired by the radio cab company.

If you see the terms and conditions drawn up by the Delhi Transport Department, you will notice the emphasis that it puts on the reliability of the driver and the accountability of the radio taxi company for his criminal acts. It says, "The radio taxi licensee shall be responsible for quality of drivers, their police verification, employer control and supervision of drivers, employee behaviour. The employers shall also ensure that the drivers are totally safe, reliable and trustworthy".

So the radio taxi companies should devise methods of putting the tracking (Global Positioning system) and the communication device to better use to ensure passenger safety. For a start, they can instruct drivers not to switch off the devices at all, even when the driver is off duty.

Secondly, whenever a passenger gets into the cab, it should be mandatory for the driver to switch on the speaker and let the passenger give her/his name and the destination. The company can also inform the passenger about the panic button and other safety features.

RN Srivastava: On two occasions, the radio taxi that I had booked did not turn up, causing me lot of problems. On the first occasion, I missed an important appointment and on the second, I missed my flight and had to spend nearly Rs5000 to get another ticket. Can I take action against the company?

Answer: Since this constitutes a deficient service, you can file a complaint before the consumer court, seeking refund of the money spent by you, besides compensation for the harassment undergone.

First Published: Dec 17, 2011 23:04 IST