UPSRTC to charge Rs 10,000 for taxi rides from Delhi airport to Noida, Ghaziabad
The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) will facilitate those wanting to travel from India Gandhi International Airport to Noida and Ghaziabad -- but at an exorbitantly heavy cost. Be ready to shell out as much as Rs10,000 for a taxi ride from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to any destination within a 250km radius.
While scores of people are stranded at different places and struggling to reach home due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the minimum cost of booking a taxi of the UPSRTC will be Rs 10,000 for sedans and Rs 12,000 for an SUV. Any additional distance, beyond the 250km, will incur additional charges. If your pockets don’t run so deep, the corporation’s buses will ply you, for a minimum of Rs 1,000 per seat in non air-conditioned bus and for Rs 1,320 per seat in air-conditioned bus for a distance of up to 100km.
UPSRTC managing director Raj Shekhar, on May 9, issued a letter to the corporation’s regional managers in Noida and Ghaziabad, informing them that they will facilitate the travel of residents -- brought back from foreign countries under the Vande Bharat Mission -- from Delhi airport to Noida and Ghaziabad and other nearby areas. “The corporation will provide buses and taxis at the airport. Those people who would be cleared by the Delhi government to travel and have no symptoms of Covid-19, can avail of this service,” the letter said.
The letter adds that booking a taxi for up to 250 km from the airport would cost Rs 10,000. “Each additional kilometre would cost Rs 40. Booking an SUV would cost Rs 12,000 for first 250km and Rs 50 for each additional kilometre,” it said. Besides the driver, only two persons can sit in the taxi,” it further stated.
A single seat in a non air-conditioned bus would cost Rs 1,000 and a seat in an air-conditioned bus would cost Rs 1,320 for 100km. The charges would double for any distance 101-200km. The buses will accommodate a maximum of 26 persons, in order to maintain social distancing. At present, all people brought back from foreign countries are kept in 14-day quarantine in Delhi. Once they complete the quarantine period, the transport department would facilitate their travel to Noida, Ghaziabad and other cities.
AK Singh, regional manager, UPSRTC, Ghaziabad, said he has received the letter. “At present, we engage our buses to ferry passengers from Delhi airport to different hotels and quarantine centres in Delhi. We have received the order from the headquarters to ferry returnees in buses and taxis. They will be transported as per the directions of the Delhi government and Ghaziabad administration,” he said.
Singh did not comment on the high fare structure, except to say that it was decided by the headquarters. “We have received information that stranded people are sometimes fleeced by truck drivers and others promising lifts. Such commuting is also unsafe while the government initiative is safe,” he said.
Anurag Yadav, assistant regional manager, UPSRTC, Noida, said until now some UPSRTC buses have ferried migrant people from Noida to other districts of Uttar Pradesh as well as to other states, on the directions of district administration.
“The services to transport migrant workers were free of cost. Now, we have received a letter from the headquarters to ply buses and taxis from the Delhi airport. We will take suitable measures once the administration gives us the nod,” he said.
KK Jain, general secretary, FONRWA, criticised the exorbitant fares and said it will further burden travellers. “We used to commute from Noida to IGIA for Rs 800 before the lockdown. A fare of Rs 10,000 for a single trip to Noida or Ghaziabad is too much. The government should reconsider the fare structure to help people who are already troubled by the lockdown the coronavirus spread,” he said.
Responding to the news report, Raj Shekhar, UPSRTC managing director, on Thursday said that a three-member committee has been formed to review the order. “The officials of department of operation, technical and regional transport authority are members of this committee. They will look into the matter and submit recommendations in 24 hours. We may introduce some changes in the fare structure,” he said.
Shekhar said that the Corporation had issued a letter for chartered rates for 250-km radius commuting. “This was not limited to Noida and Ghaziabad from Delhi airport. People can book the taxi from the airport for whole day and travel to different district like Bareilly, Moradabad, Meerut, etc. The taxi drivers will come with empty vehicles and they can’t book or lift commuters on return. The commuters need not to share the ride with others, unlike the other taxi services,” he said.
Shekhar said that at present the people brought from abroad are quarantined in Delhi. “We have engaged some buses to ferry them from Airport to the hotels. We have not charged them any money till now,” he said. The Corporation is yet to start this chartered bus and taxi service from the Airport.
Shekhar added that UPSRTC is reviewing its order specially pertaining to Noida, Ghaziabad commuting from Delhi. UPSRTC runs over 10,000 buses while it has a few taxis in each district.