The taxis provided under the Punjab government’s Yellow Cab Scheme (YCS) will be without fare meters, The Express Tribune has learnt. According to an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, the installation of a meter, a requirement under Rule 125 of the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1969, was forgone due to “the heavy cost and the culture of not using them” in public transport.
The official said the fare would be decided by the passenger and the driver and the government would have no role in the decision. Although the taxis are to be delivered in October in 10 districts, taxi stands have so far not been identified.
Taxi meter dealer Anwer Khan said the absence of taxi meters would be the cause of many a quarrel between the passenger and the driver. Khan, who also wrote a letter to the chief minister regarding installation of meters in taxis, said the decision was a deviation from the law and the rules.
He regretted that rules were being bulldozed for the YCS.
(Read: Getting Yellow Cab gets easier and easier)
The decision not to install meters would be beginning of its misuse, Khan said. After some days, the meter dealer said, the roof lights and carriers would vanish and the taxis would be used for private business. The cost of taxi meters, apparently, would increase the cost of a taxi from Rs12,000 to Rs15,000.
The meters are not locally manufactured and it would take 6 to 8 weeks to import them while the government wants to start handing over cabs from October.
Even balloting for drivers has been completed in three divisions and now an increase in cost and the installation of meters would delay delivery, the official added.
The concerned department missed inputting the cost of meters in the taxi cost initially and have managed to get the consent of the chief minister to avoid installing meters, he said. Ironically, the official said trackers were being installed in cabs, which was not a legal requirement. The cost of each tracker, according to Khan, was between Rs20,000 to Rs25,000.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.