Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Riding a cab to airport may be cheaper

Riding a cab to airport may be cheaper

Shwetha S. Bangalore



There are more than 2,000 cabs plying in the city; many of these belong to three or four prominent cab agencies. Commuters who wish to hire their services, however, are frequently foxed — there are no fixed fares, and these vary from one ride to the next. Examining the problems faced by commuters, the State Transport Authority is planning a move to standardise fares of taxis plying throughout the state.
HG Kumar, joint commissioner of transport and secretary, Karnataka State Transport Authority, said, "In the last four years, and especially so after the opening of the Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli in the past year, there has been huge competition among operators of cab services. There are different slabs of fares, different facilities on offer in the cabs. In a few months, 200 cars produced by Maruti Udyog Ltd too will be used as cabs. We have received complaints that some cab agencies have been charging exorbitant fares, and that there are vast differences in the rates from one cab to another. We will be issuing a notification to all cab companies in the city, calling for a meeting in early January to discuss revision and standardisation of cab fares."
Kumar added that the authority will fix the fare depending on the services available —whether the cab is air conditioned or not, and whether it offers radio services. The problem of uneven fares persists even though most cabs run with a meter. The minimum fare, and the rate for each kilometre vary. The State Transport Authority has been planning a downward revision in the minimum fare, from the present Rs35-40 to Rs30 for non-AC cabs. For such cabs, the per-kilometre fare, currently Rs8-9, will also be revised downward to Rs7. For AC cabs, the minimum fare that now stands at Rs60 will be reduced to Rs50; the per-kilometre fare, currently Rs14-16, will be reduced to Rs10-12.
Kumar said that this is only a preliminary plan, which could be altered after a meeting with cab owners. Also, fares will be dependent on the facilities available in the cab. The move is meant to make the cab services more easily accessible.
An official source with Meru Cabs said, "Currently, we charge Rs60 minimum up to 4km and Rs15 per kilometre after that. While revising the fares, the fact that all cabs do not offer credit card payment facility or geographical positioning systems should be borne in mind."
President of the Karnataka City Taxi Operators and Owners Association, T Prabhakar said, "There has been heavy competition in cab services. Commuters are often confused about fares; it is good that the State Transport Authority is seeking to intervene and standardise fares."

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