AC, pre-paid taxi rides in Mumbai may cost you less soon
Your commute on air-conditioned cool cabs and black-and-yellow taxis may become cheaper if the state accepts recommendations made by Khatua panel appointed to fix the fare of all autorickshaws and cabs in the state. Besides this, hailing pre-paid taxis from airports, railway stations and bus stands would also become economical.
In its 212-page report, the panel recommended that the AC charge in black-and-yellow taxis be reduced to 10% from existing 20% and the same for blue-silver cool cabs be cut to 20% from 25%. The panel has suggested this since the additional cost for running the AC is just 5% of the basic fare.
Also, while suggesting to rationalise the distance slabs and incentives given for pre-paid autorickshaws and taxis at international airport, domestic airport and railway stations, the panel said such services should be introduced at other places too. It recommended a 20% discount for rides up to 8km in pre-paid autorickshaws and 25% discount in rides up to 4 km.
While recommending a minimum and maximum fare cap ranging from Rs14 to Rs38 per km for app-based taxis, the panel also recommended several amendments in Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017. It includes reducing permit fee, allowing diesel taxis to ply till the permit is valid and sharing data and driver’s list with the government.
To overcome the shortage of drivers, the panel also said the 15-year domicile rule should be relaxed for city taxi permit and public service badge. “A preliminary reading of the report suggests that the committee has made welcome strides in turning aside some of the contentious provisions of the proposed Maharashtra City Taxi Rules that directly impact thousands of driver partners on app-based platforms. However, there is further scope for liberalisation,” said Shailesh Sawlani, general manager, Uber India, West.
Earlier this month, the four-member panel chaired by retired IAS officer BC Khatua had submitted its report to the state, almost after a year after it was appointed in October 2016.
For stopping misuse of permits, the panel recommended that it be linked with the drivers’ Aadhar cards.
While suggesting to introduce online meter testing facility, the panel suggested that prompt action be taken against the driver and meter manufactures in meter tampering cases.
For safety of passengers, the panel has suggested that GPS based panic buttons be installed in autos and taxis in front of the passenger seats, cabbies be barred from fitting central locking system and restricted from sharing ride without explicit consent of the passenger.
Khatua panel has also suggested creation of General Insurance and Welfare Corporation for the social security and welfare of auto-taxi drivers. Their unions have welcomed this recommendation. “We expected fare hike of at least Rs 3, in the minimum fare as per the Hakim panel formula,” said Shashank Rao, leader of auto rickshaw unions. “We are providing the service under fixed rate. It is not wanted and it will create too much confusion. We are going to oppose it if it is implemented.”
Prem Singh, leader of Mumbai Taxi Association, said they only talk about it after studying entire report.