The government is set to launch the Yellow Cab Scheme (YCS) without addressing issues like imposition of penalties in case of change in design and colour of vehicle, number of taxi stands, fare regulations, loan surety and the number and scheduling of installments, a senior government official said.
A number of officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that even though the issues had been raised and discussed no consensus was reached. The investment of Rs4.5 billion would be a huge risk, they said.
Candidates of ages 35 and under will be able to apply for 800 cc vehicles through the Bank of Punjab on interest-free terms. The candidates must have an intermediate certificate and a valid driving licence. They will be charged a service charge of one percent. The successful candidates will be picked by computerised balloting to rule out allegations of nepotism, an official said.
The selected candidates would have to pay 20 per cent of the price as a down payment. The remaining amount would be financed by the Punjab government through a Bank of Punjab interest free loan. The candidates would pay back in installments, the amount of those have not been finalised as yet, the official added.
In the annual budget for 2011-12, the government allocated Rs.4.5 billion to launch the YCS.
Taxi cars and pickup loaders, 20,000 in total, are part of the scheme. Out of those, 8,000 taxis are to be provided to those having domiciles of south Punjab.
The vehicles are to be locally manufactured. The taxi’s would have a yellow roof and black body with the name of the concerned district on the front and the taxi owner’s name in the back. The pickups would be yellow.
The vehicles would be displayed on Tuesday (today) at the Punjab Civil Secretariat by the manufacturers for approval of the model by Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa, an official said.
The manufacturers have recieved their orders and are ready to provide the vehicles in six months. The government plans to take possession of all the vehicles in one swoop. Prior to that, the successful candidates will be announced.
The Transport Department has been entrusted with the task of collecting and processing of applications and coordinating with the bank.
During meetings, the Finance Department observed that fare tariffs and number of installments etc should be decided but others had the view that these decisions would be made by the Regional Transport Authority and the Bank of Punjab. The city government was not taken on board for the establishment of more taxi stands.
The issue of where the vehicles can go has not yet been decided. Regional Transport Authorities would, most likely, be directed to restrict these to the district boundaries.
Also up in the air was the issue regarding imposition of a fine and possible confiscation in case the owners changed the colour of the vehicle or the registration number.
A senior official said negotiations were in progress with manufacturers for a concession on the net price of
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2011.