Mumbai: As the Free Press Journal's revived campaign against refusal to ply (RTP) entered third day on Friday, it was found that the menace has gained a firm footing. This newspaper spent more than eight hours in the vicinity of Mumbai police headquarters, Marine Lines, Charni Road and Grant Road, but around 82% cabbies refused to ply short-distances.
More than 110 drivers were asked for a ride to destinations like Masjid, CSMT, Chira Bazar and nearby areas, but 90 of them bluntly refused while just eight agreed. The remaining showed some courtesy and instead of terse denial cited excuses like refuelling or heading for breakfast for not accepting short fares.
Daily frustrating experience of hunting for a taxi
When the FPJ went around to enquire with people struggling to hail a taxi, their conclusion was that most of the cabbies are unsparing. Summing up the daily frustrating experience of hunting for a taxi which accepts short fares, Vijay Sawant, a 34-year-old Andheri resident, said that he waited for more than 15 minutes to get a cab to Churchgate from the Metro Cinema. With no drivers willing to ply short distances, he eventually boarded a BEST bus out of sheer annoyance.
FPJ's Kamal Mishra talking to a taxi driver in Mumbai | VGP
Even government officials are not exempt from this ordeal. One unnamed official recounted an incident on Thursday. At around 6pm, he couldn't find his car driver and hence attempted to hail a taxi at CSMT to reach his home near Churchgate. After approaching more than half-a-dozen taxi drivers, he was met with repeated refusals. Frustrated, he ultimately decided to walk to his destination.
“Despite efforts to curb these malpractices, RTP remains a major concern for daily commuters in Mumbai, raising questions about the effectiveness of regulatory measures being taken by the authorities concerned,” said another exasperated passenger Usman Ahmed, who works with a nationalised bank.