Pre-paid taxi scheme hits a roadblock again

March 26th, 2007

Mumbai: Thousands of airline passengers who come through the doors of Santacruz airport and long for a pre-paid taxi to take them home will have to wait a while longer. The meeting between the airport management and the taxi unions held last week to introduce a pre-paid taxi scheme drew a blank as the unions have declined to agree to the proposal till parking problems at the new airport are resolved.

There have been numerous complaints from commuters about the lack of prepaid taxi services from the domestic airport. The fact that passengers are often overcharged by taxi drivers is an issue which the airport management has thus far been unable to resolve.

However, taxi unions have demanded some concessions before the prepaid service is unveiled. For one, they are opposing the airport management’s move to reorganise the parking system. Earlier, the taxis were all parked at the airport. But now, most cabs have to wait outside the airport premises on a service road on the Western Express Highway. The new parking system allows only 250 vehicles to be parked at the airport while the rest of the vehicles (500) have to park their vehicles at a site on the service road.

The reorganisation of the parking system is being carried out by the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the firm which has taken over the running of the airport. The meeting on Friday, to discuss related issues, had officials of MIAL, the traffic police, the regional transport office and the regional transport authority in attendance.

The president of the City Taxi Union, Mustaq Qureshi said taxi drivers were opposing MIAL’s plan as they had been parking outside the airport for a long time and needed to be given a fair deal.”Hundreds of taxi drivers have been forced to park on the service road and have suffered loss of business,’’ he said.

Pointing to the defects of the new scheme proposed at Sahar International Airport, Qureshi said, “We have pointed out that no night charges would be allowed under the scheme. But most flights come at night, so we will lose 25 per cent on our bills which we are legally allowed to charge.’’ In addition to this, said Qureshi, airconditioned taxis are facing problems of excessive consumption of petrol as they cannot cut off their engines when caught in heavy traffic.

MIAL officials said they are trying to sort out the issue of parking at the airport and would be ready with a plan soon.

Source: TOI(Mumbai-epaper)

Entry Filed under: Mumbai Traffic News

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