Pvt vehicles ferry passengers

  • Cabbies say authorities concerned are doing nothing to curb the illegal practice
- Anup Ojha, Bhaktapur
Pvt vehicles ferry passengers

Oct 8, 2014-

Fifty-year-old Padam Chaulagain was driving home his taxi without a passenger from the Bhaktapur Durbar Square on Wednesday evening. He said he could not get any passenger as most of them opt for private vehicles being used as taxis in the area. “We feed our family by driving taxi that we rent from owner. But the involvement of private vehicle owners has made our life difficult,” said Chaulagain, who has been driving taxi for the past 15 years and is the sole bread winner for his five-member family living in Jadibuti.

Like Chaulagain, many taxi drivers have shared similar stories. “We can’t take passengers from Bhaktapur as the private vehicle owners have run their syndicate there,” said another taxi driver Saugat Maharjan, expressing dissatisfaction over of authorities concerned to control such practice. “Our meters are regularly checked, but they never check private cars ferrying passengers, which is against the law,” he said.

The Motor Vehicles and Transportation Management Act (1997) states that a fine of Rs 500 to 2000 will be charged if a vehicle is used for work other than the stated one. However, there are around 400 private cars and vans on rent in Bhaktapur. These red plate vehicles ferry both tourists and local passengers to various destinations across the valley.

The Bhaktapur Durbar Square area alone has around 60 such private vehicles operating as cabs. Similarly, Suryavinayak, Dudhpati, Kamalvinayak, Thimi, Sallaghari and Gatthaghar together have over 200 such vehicles. Because of the trend, many people buy second-hand private vehicles and use it to ferry people. According to taxi entrepreneurs, a new taxi costs almost four times the price of used private car in the market.

However, traffic police and other authorities seem unaware of the fact though the Nepal Meter Taxi Association (NMTA) is voicing its concerns over such activity.

“We have already submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and traffic police, but none of them have responded,” NMTA Chairman Arjun Prasad Gautam said.

Chief District Officer Anil Kumar Thakur said he needs an order from senior authorities to take action against private vehicle owners.

When asked, Kashi Raj Dahal, director at the Department of Transportation Management, said he was not aware of this trend. “I will investigate into the matter soon,” he said. Taxi owners and drivers, however, see this as a shady nexus between government authorities and some individuals to make a quick buck.

Meanwhile, requesting anonymity, a traffic police office said a large number of such private vehicles are being used as taxis in New Bus Park, Kalanki, Banepa, Balkhu, Dakshinkali and Pharping area as well.

Published: 09-10-2014 08:59

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