Friday, April 29, 2005

Taxi, auto drivers under scanner

Taxi, auto drivers under scanner
Must Display Their Photo, Info Inside Vehicle: Police Chief
The Times of India

Bangalore: Taxi and autorickshaw drivers will have to display the name of the vehicle owner, name of the driver, driver’s photograph and vehicle’s registration number inside the vehicle prominently, so that it is visible to the passenger, said Bangalore police commissioner S. Mariswamy.

The gang rape of a 31-year-old woman by City Taxi drivers in the wooded Bangalore University campus in Jnananabharati on Sunday night has prompted the police and road transport office to take action.

“We have taken the incident seriously. We have requested the RTO authorities to make it mandatory for taxi and auto drivers to display this information. Any violation will attract Rs 2,000 fine,” Mariswamy said.

“We will also prepare a list of auto and taxi drivers wherever required. We will check autos and taxis randomly near airports, railway stations and isolated stretches on Ring Road and other areas, particularly during evening hours, to prevent crimes,” he said.

Members of the taxi drivers’ union admitted that the incident has brought them under the scanner, and said they are willing to take corrective measures.

Union members said the rape victim made a mistake in not calling the taxi control room before boarding the City Taxi. Luckily, her two children remembered the phone number behind the taxi, which ended with 4444. Policemen who were on night rounds nabbed two persons, while others are still absconding.

A drivers’ union leader said, “When somebody makes a call to the City or Radio Taxi operator seeking a vehicle, the call is registered and the taxi is sent. It is completely safe to travel by those vehicles and no incidents of crime have taken place so far in such cases. If something goes wrong, the operator is accountable for it.”

“In Sunday’s incident, some rogues in the garb of taxi drivers have raped the woman. It is shameful. The taxi operator was ignorant of the incident,” Ramanna, an operator, said.

“There are around 80,000 autorickshaws and over 10,000 taxis in the city and it is difficult to keep tab on each one of them. We regularly conduct classes to auto and taxi drivers on how to behave with commuters and enhance their image,” RTO (Central) Syed Shafi Ahmed said.


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