Taxis pe­nal­ized for charg­ing ex­cess fares on trav­el­ers

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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.

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