Mumbai: While the problem of refusal to ply (RTP) short-distances was already a lingering issue, no fear of law among errant cabbies has aggravated the pressing concern. The Free Press Journal witnessed the brazen attitude of some taxi drivers when it took its anti- RTP drive to Mumbai Central, Nagpada and surrounding areas on Friday. After asking 80 cabbies for short trips, this newspaper met with 62 denials, nine offered oft-repeated excuses like refuelling and snacks break, while just nine others agreed to accept fares.
"You can complain to whomever you want": Errant drivers to FPJ
When the Free Press Journal warned the errant drivers of complaining against them to the regional transport office (RTO), they nonchalantly responded, “You can complain to whomever you want; be it the police or RTO, it doesn't make a difference.”
The persistent menace has become a long-standing problem, leaving commuters stranded and frustrated. Imtiyaj Khan from Borivali, who needed to travel from Mumbai Central to the JJ Hospital, said, “Even in emergencies, these cabbies don't relent. They have become a law unto themselves.”
Suhas Chandra Jaiswal, a Jogeshwari resident, narrated a similar annoying experience, which has become part and parcel of daily lives. Usman Ali from Nagpada highlighted the importance of a collective effort involving authorities and passengers to address this issue. He stressed upon the need for stricter enforcement of existing regulations and greater awareness among the public as potential solutions to the problem.
Need for comprehensive approach
On the other hand, officials from the state transport department said that each reported case of RTP is thoroughly investigated to hold errant drivers accountable. However, many passengers choose not to complain and instead start to search for another cab. This reluctance to approach authorities has become a significant hindrance in effectively combating the issue, underlined the officials. “The Free Press Journal's campaign has brought this issue to the forefront, but it's clear that a comprehensive approach is required to tackle the ongoing problem of taxi drivers refusing to ply short distances,” said a retired transport department official.