Taxis penalized for charging excess fares on travelers
The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) imposed fines on five taxis under the RSTA act for involving in charging excessive fares on travelers.
There are several road blocks, falling boulders and landslides at several areas along the highway due to continued heavy rainfall over the past days.
It has been learnt that taxis and other vehicles are ferrying travelers at a very high fare in the difficult road conditions and people were having tough time during the monsoon season.
Speaking to BT the chief regional transport officer (RTO), Prem P. Adhikari said it is a time to render whatever possible help to each other, not to take advantage of those who are in need by charging over rate.
“Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) coordinating with Royal Bhutan Police at all the road block sites to ensure proper flow of traffic, monitor and safety of all passengers,” he informed. He further added, “We are using tele-gram to report on road blocks, fare over charging and other matters.”
The taxi operators charges Nu.1000 to Nu.1500 per head from Thimphu to Phuentsholing. According to the RSTA act the fare charges Nu.18/km for short journey and Nu.16/km for long journey. The Chief RTO said, “We will be inspecting fare imposed on travelers.”
The RSTA also informed all the travelers to report on charging excess fares to RSTA officials or traffic police along with the taxi registration number. “People don’t complaint to us. However, if they come with the complaints, we will take an action accordingly against those who charges over fare,” he added.
One of the major problems for enforcement of the penalty for excess fare is drivers and passengers collude to report wrongly to RSTA when they were being investigated. He said, “There was negotiation between taxi operators and travelers before leaving to station. Passengers were already made clear to inform no excess fares charged whenever there is investigation,”
However, he added if the passengers inform on over charging during the investigation, the distance to be covered will be calculated to know whether it is excess rate or not and then penalize accordingly. “We don’t know whether they were charged over fare or not. However, if we know that they have charged over fare, we will penalize them for the exorbitant fares,” Chief RTO said.
“In fact there are some challenges when we enforce the people. People insist that RSTA shouldn’t interfere in the journey of individuals,” he said. However, it is responsible for RSTA to look the safety road and safety of all travelers.
“When things go right nobody appreciates the efforts of RSTA and traffic police. We are all the time on the road for traffic monitoring during the road blocks and road conditions,” further adding there are few who appreciate the effort putting by RSTA and traffic police.”
He said that by any means, if the vehicles were allowed to transport and if an accident occurs then RSTA and traffic police were being alleged by people.
He advised to cooperate and to help each other at these difficult times and avoid un-necessary incident. “Therefore, all are advised to restrain travel as far as possible for the safety of all,” he said.
Meanwhile, he requested taxi operators not to take advantage of the situation by charging excessive fare on the passengers.