Guwahati: The State Department of Transportation assam issued a stern warning to taxi aggregator companies, taxi syndicates and app-based platforms like Ola, Uber, Rapido and PeIndia in light of recent cases of unruly behavior by taxi drivers towards passengers and charging more than the amount billed, refusing rides and even attacking users.
On Tuesday, Transport Officer (Law Enforcement) Himangshu Kumar Das told a press conference that not all drivers are profit-driven and some drivers are preoccupied with customer demands.
“The whole taxi service is criticized due to few drivers misbehaving with passengers either by asking for more money, canceling rides, refusing rides or refusing payment methods. From now on, any inappropriate behavior towards passengers will not be accepted. Taxi drivers will not be allowed to ask for extra money from customers who book a ride,” said Himangsu Kumar Das.
The recent alleged assault of a Delhi-based journalist, Nikita Jain, by an Uber driver following a disagreement over payment in Guwahati on May 29 has become a big talking point on social media. The Uber driver was apprehended after journalist Nikita Jain tweeted the matter tagging Guwahati Police Station and filed a complaint against him.
Soon others began to share their ordeal as well. Mona Bastola, a Guwahati-based pharmacy owner who travels frequently, said IsMojo that such incidents show the callous approach of drivers without a professional touch. “Cabin aggregator platforms should periodically train their licensed drivers and vet new drivers. This will surely answer most of our concerns. As a woman who often travels alone, I will always look for a professional driver for my safety,” Mona added.
Stuti Choudhury, a popular presenter and actress, also shared on her Facebook page that she was charged Rs 81/km by a taxi on her way to the airport the day the fuel dealers called a bandh. She was charged four times the normal rate, and when she posted the screenshot of the amount charged, the comments section was flooded with similar experiences during rainy and busy times.
Elderly Bhakti Maya Subba shared an uncomfortable experience with Uber. Talk with IsMojo, Subba said she had booked a taxi to GMCH and it quoted a fare of Rs 250 from Khanapara, but the driver wanted to charge Rs 8550 since the location said Siliguri in West Bengal on arrival. The driver and Subba tried to call customer service, but it couldn’t be resolved. The driver was unruly when the senior paid the amount charged at the time of booking and informed her that he had to pay a certain percentage of the amount charged in any case. “These technical errors also lead to a fight between taxi drivers and users. Operators should immediately respond to emergency messages sent by the driver or user,” added Bhakti Maya Subba.
In view of several such incidents, the Ministry of Transport has decided to gradually revoke the license of taxi drivers and take appropriate action at the docks if they are found guilty of not complying with the prescribed guidelines.
“Negligence on the part of the authorities of taxi organizations leads to such occurrences where consumers are at risk. Taxi drivers must now strictly adhere to the guidelines. Any taxi driver who violates the guidelines will have their license revoked,” a added the transport officer during the press conference.
“The termination of the license will be done in stages. During the first five days of the first phase, the driver will not be allowed to make any trips. In the second part, he will not be allowed to drive for ten days, and in the third phase, his license will be revoked,” Das explained.
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