Friday, March 6, 2009

Faulty meters of the New-age (black & yellow) taxis

You may enjoy the ride in one of several new-age taxis (black & yellow) on the roads of Bombay, but the ride may cost you more than the old Fiat taxis. And this extra cost may be because of a faulty meter. Ever since the state government's order of replacement of 25-year old taxis to control pollution, some of these old taxis have now been replaced by newer, more energy-efficient, models such as Hyundia Santro, Tata Indica, Maturi Omni Vans, etc. However, these new models do not come with the age-old meters, which by the way, I liked and are in some ways a part of Bombay's heritage, much like the tring-tring bell of the BEST bus but could also be forged. These new taxis come with new-age electronic meters. 

Much to my dismay, I have observed that some of these electronic meters are tampered. On a recent trip from one area to my office that I took in one of these new-age taxis (Hyundai Santro), I ended up paying Rs 58/-, instead of the usual fare on this sector of around Rs 45/-. 

The Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the traffic police should randomly stop and check the meters of these new black & yellow taxis and punish the erring drivers. And whilst they are at it, it would also bode well for all of us that they also stop the old black & yellow taxis and check their meters too, which as per various internet and press reports, are easier to be tampered with. Though the kind of tampering is lower in Bombay than in other cities like Delhi, this kind of cheating should be thoroughly dealt with. A few rotten apples can give the entire trade a bad name. 

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