Private cabs to be brought under Maha’s city taxi norms: Transport Minister

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The Maharashtra government intends to bring private aggregator cabs under its city taxi norms and they would have to mandatorily use CNG as fuel to reduce pollution, state Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said.

He was replying to supplementary queries in the Legislative Council over a calling attention notice moved by Anand Thakur (NCP) and others about the arrogant attitude of autorickshaw and taxi drivers in Mumbai who they claimed either refuse fares or overcharge.

The minister said the government would make it mandatory for autorickshaw and taxi drivers to paste stickers displaying toll free complaint numbers 1800220110 and 62426666 in their vehicles for passengers to report grievances.

Raote informed the House that between April 2017 and January 2018, the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) checked 14,788 taxis and found 4,328 of them faulty.

He said that the licences of 1,294 drivers and 1,024 vehicle licences had been suspended.

The state collected Rs 68.72 lakh in fines and also recovered Rs 15.62 lakh worth of fines imposed by the courts, he said.

Raote said that between 2013 and March 2017, 5,719 showcause notices were issued on complaints lodged by passengers.

He added that 4,203 vehicle licences and 4,431 drivers’ licences were suspended and fines worth Rs 83.42 lakh were recovered.

Replying to supplementary queries on illegal private autorickshaws plying in rural Maharashtra, Raote disclosed that the Transport department had seized 4 lakh such illegal vehicles.

He added that the owners would be given a chance to pay the stipulated fine by March so that their livelihood is safeguarded.

He said that the state government was considering deploying homeguards at auto and taxi stands to help passengers against incidents of fare refusal.

“With regards to private taxis, we intend to bring them under city taxi norms. They will be asked to mandatorily use CNG as fuel to reduce pollution,” Raote said.

Earlier, members, cutting across party lines, narrated incidents of misbehaviour by auto and taxi drivers.

The NCP’s Anand Thakur spoke of how a taxi driver refused to ferry him to CSMT station and relented only after the intervention of a security guard.

Vidya Chavan of the NCP said that a autorickshaw driver once refused to take her from Vile Parle to Jogeshwari and when he was forced to oblige, he started driving rashly.

Prakash Gajbhiye of the NCP demanded a separate pre-paid taxi booth at CSMT for legislators.