You can soon take prepaid cabs from Kalyan railway station | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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You can soon take prepaid cabs from Kalyan railway station

For government-operated prepaid taxis, payment is made in advance and all the taxi details are noted down at the booking centre, thereby making them safer

mumbai Updated: Feb 23, 2018 11:10 IST
Sajana Nambiar
Sajana Nambiar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Kalyan,prepaid
One will be able to take a prepaid taxi from the station to Dombivli, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Badlapur and Murbad. (Rishikesh Chaudhary/HT)

Travelling to other cities from Kalyan railway station will become safer as the Kalyan road transport office (RTO) has finalised 20 routes for prepaid taxi services from the station.

With this, one will be able to take a prepaid taxi from the station to Dombivli, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Badlapur and Murbad. Currently, people have to take autorickshaws to these places.

“During night, if there are no trains beyond Kalyan, commuters are forced to take autorickshaws. They charge excessively and are also unsafe,” said Usha Pandit, 35, a train commuter, who travels from Ulhasnagar to Mumbai daily.

For government-operated prepaid taxis, payment is made in advance and all the taxi details are noted down at the booking centre, thereby making them safer. The service is costlier than autorickshaws as the fares include service charges and incentives to taxi drivers.

“We have received permission to start prepaid taxi services in the city. We have finalised the fares for 20 routes from Kalyan railway station. However, the service will start once the taxi unions come forward to provide the service,” said Sanjay Sasane, deputy regional transport officer, Kalyan RTO.

Between 2014 and 2017, several incidents of autorickshaw drivers molesting women were reported across Kalyan, Dombivli and Thane. In August 2014, a software engineer from Thane, Swapnali Lad, 24, sustained serious injuries after she jumped out of a moving autorickshaw to thwart an abduction attempt. Following this, several measures were taken to ensure safe travel, such as, women-special autorickshaws and prepaid auto services.

“Although the service will be costlier, it will ensure a safe travel. In case of any eventuality, the taxi can be tracked by the authorities unlike autorickshaws,” said Padmaja Singh, 39, a commuter who takes an autorickshaw from Kalyan railway station to Khadakpada in Kalyan (West).

Even though the RTO has finalised the routes, the service requires a consent from the railways. “The taxi unions are supposed to approach the railways. So far, no taxi union has approached the railways,” said Sasane.

Autorickshaw and taxi unions have raised concerns over service, saying it would lead to increase in congestion in the city. This is why no union has approached the authorities.

“We have not approached the railways because we know that the prepaid service won’t work in Kalyan. There is no space left for parking at the station. We have even asked the RTO and the authority to stop giving permits to new autorickshaws,” said Santosh Navale, representative of Autorickshaw-Taxi Chalak Malak Sangh, Kalyan.

The Republican autorickshaw and taxi union, Kalyan, is ready to provide prepaid taxi service. “We have around 70 taxis plying in the city. We are ready to provide the prepaid service and will approach the authorities . This would be the best option for us to improve our service as people choose other cab services, which is affecting our business,” said Vilas Gaikwad, president of the union.

Earlier in 2015, the Kalyan RTO along with the Autorickshaw-Taxi Chalak Malak Sangh, Kalyan started prepaid auto service in Kalyan station which failed to function owing to the lack of passengers. “In Kalyan-Dombivli, most passengers are used to taking a share auto. People rarely take an autorickshaw on meter-basis. If the meter system is not successful in Kalyan, how can a prepaid service sustain?,” said Navale.

Kalyan passenger association president, Rajendra Phadke said,”Instead of introducing the prepaid taxi service, the authorities should emphasize on improving the existing civic bus transportation. They should start civic bus service from station. The prepaid taxi service may not be successful as people prefer share auto”.

A railway official from Kalyan railway station, requesting anonymity said, “Taxi unions have not shown any interest so far. The railways has decided to use the space for generating income and providing better transport facility.”

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 23:56 IST