FPJ Taxi Campaign: Why 70% Of The Kaali Peeli Drivers Refuse Short-Distance Rides

FPJ Taxi Campaign: Why 70% Of The Kaali Peeli Drivers Refuse Short-Distance Rides

Despite official assurances and campaigns against errant drivers, a recent investigation by the Free Press Journal (FPJ) has brought to light the root causes of this predicament.

Kamal Mishra Vishal SinghUpdated: Friday, November 17, 2023, 06:51 PM IST
article-image
A L Quadros | FPJ

In the heart of Mumbai's bustling metropolis, the daily rhythm of life is intricately tied to the ubiquitous taxis and autorickshaws that navigate its crowded streets. However, a persistent challenge looms over commuters—the issue of short-distance fare refusals. Despite official assurances and campaigns against errant drivers, a recent investigation by the Free Press Journal (FPJ) has brought to light the root causes of this predicament.

Reluctance on Short Distances

FPJ's week-long campaign uncovered a prevalent reluctance among taxi and rickshaw drivers to undertake short-distance journeys, contributing significantly to the problem of fare refusals. Even at vital locations like Mantralaya, Police headquarters, and RTO offices, drivers were observed blatantly refusing short-distance passengers. The investigation revealed that approximately 70% of the surveyed drivers showed disinterest in serving short-distance routes, highlighting the gravity of the issue.

Systemic Issues

The investigation delved deeper into the systemic problems plaguing Mumbai's transportation system. A rickshaw driver at LTT attributed overcharging to the pervasive issue of bribery, emphasizing that 'hafta' (bribes) is the root cause. Despite official claims of strict actions, FPJ's findings showcased a disturbing trend, with 400 out of 600 drivers adamantly refusing short-distance rides. This underscores the urgent need for attention to address the lack of willpower among authorities in tackling this issue.

Lack of Willpower - A Core Challenge

The core issue highlighted by the campaign is the lack of willpower among the authorities. Despite instances of drivers refusing short-distance rides, concerned officials seem more focused on maintaining a facade of compliance on paper. The ground reality exposes a different story, with traffic cops openly accepting bribes. This lack of resolve within governing bodies perpetuates the menace on the streets, demanding urgent intervention.

Damaging Distrust

Another dimension of the problem is the eroding trust of citizens in the system. FPJ's interactions with commuters unveiled a reluctance to report issues to concerned officials, citing ignorance about the reporting process and skepticism about tangible change. The lack of faith is compounded by instances of taxi drivers openly flouting norms, even in the presence of traffic cops, engaging in overcharging and using unauthorized tools.

A Multi-Faceted Approach

Addressing the menace of fare refusals in Mumbai requires a multi-faceted approach. Beyond punitive measures, there is a pressing need for initiatives that address intrinsic issues such as the lack of willpower among drivers and the erosion of trust in the system. Transparency, accountability, and a collaborative effort between authorities and citizens are crucial to creating a reliable and fair commuting experience for all in the bustling streets of Mumbai. It's time for systemic change to navigate through the challenges that persist in the city's transportation landscape.

Action being taken against errant drivers - Joint Commissioner Traffic Praveen Padwal

Mumbai Traffic Police has taken action against a total of 1,49,108 taxi and autorickshaw drivers for refusing fare in the year 2022. Out of which 66232 people have paid the fine while 82876 people have not paid the fine yet.

From January to November 15 this year, action has been taken against 3,54,685 taxi and autorickshaw drivers. Out of which 2,30,559 people have paid the fine while 1,24,165 people have not paid the fine yet.

The traffic police has started taking action against taxi and autorickshaw drivers charging arbitrary fares. The police has imposed fine on 1624 people.

Joint Commissioner Traffic Praveen Padwal said that some drivers have demanded arbitrary fare instead of following the meter and action has been taken against them under section 21 of Maharashtra Motor vehicle rule for conduct driver of duty cab. A constable was caught on camera while taking money from a taxi driver at Gateway during FPJ compaign. On this Padwal said that this case is being investigated and if the constable is found guilty then action will be taken against him.

Mumbai Taximen's Union raises concerns over empty return rides amidst increasing competition

AL Quadros, the general secretary of the Mumbai Taximen's Union, highlighted the challenges faced by taxi drivers in the city. Quadros pointed out that growing competition, especially from app-based services like Ola and Uber, has intensified the struggle for taxi drivers.

Quadros explained that many drivers prefer passengers heading towards the suburbs in the evening, as they reside there, and exhaustion sets in after a full day of driving. Additionally, drivers often have loyal customers they transport regularly, leaving them available for other passengers only after fulfilling these commitments.

The concern raised by the union revolves around drivers hesitating to take rides that don't align with their return journey, fearing financial losses incurred by operating empty cabs. Quadros emphasized the need for the government's support, suggesting solutions such as dedicated parking lines for long-distance and short-distance passengers.

Moreover, the union cited issues such as a lack of parking slots and reduced passenger demand in well-serviced bus areas, further urging the government to address these challenges for the betterment of the taxi industry.

The Mumbai Taximen's Union hopes that by considering their demands, the government can contribute to alleviating the difficulties faced by taxi drivers, ultimately improving the overall efficiency of the transportation system in the city.

Appropriate action is being taken against frequent offenders by the Regional Transport Officer (RTO)

In a concerted effort to address public complaints, Vinay Ahire, the Dy Regional Transport Officer of Mumbai East (Wadala), has initiated regular actions against taxi and rickshaw drivers violating norms. Special teams have been deployed to tackle errant cabbies and rickshaw drivers.

Between July and October this year, the Wadala RTO received a total of 460 complaints, out of which 15 were deemed bogus. Ahire stated that appropriate actions, including fines totaling Rs 13.5 lakh, have been taken against the remaining offenders.

Emphasizing the priority given to passenger complaints, officials from Mumbai Central RTO encourage passengers to contact a dedicated team at 9076201010 from 7 am to 7 pm. Complaints can also be lodged after 7 pm via WhatsApp, text message, or email (mh01taxicomplaint@gmail.com).

An official of the state transport department highlighted their determination to tackle the issue, urging passengers to actively report incidents. A dedicated control room has been established for this purpose.

Special squads routinely visit prominent and crowded railway stations, engaging with taxi drivers and union leaders. These encounters involve counseling sessions, explanations of Motor Vehicles Act rules, and warnings against rude behavior, refusal to ply, and overcharging.

RECENT STORIES

MahaRERA Raises Concerns Over 212 Unverified Housing Projects Across Maharashtra

MahaRERA Raises Concerns Over 212 Unverified Housing Projects Across Maharashtra

Mumbai: 6-Year-Old Boy Dies After Falling Into 8-Feet-Deep Pit Outside Mankhurd Railway Station

Mumbai: 6-Year-Old Boy Dies After Falling Into 8-Feet-Deep Pit Outside Mankhurd Railway Station

Bombay HC Refuses To Grant Bail To Man Booked For Gangraping Minor In 2020

Bombay HC Refuses To Grant Bail To Man Booked For Gangraping Minor In 2020

Solvyns' People Of Bengal-DAG Exhibition, Travels To Mumbai For The First Time

Solvyns' People Of Bengal-DAG Exhibition, Travels To Mumbai For The First Time

Mira-Bhayander: Banker Loses ₹31 Lakh To Online Stock Fraud

Mira-Bhayander: Banker Loses ₹31 Lakh To Online Stock Fraud