| Traffic at MG Marg in Gangtok on Monday. Picture by Prabin Khaling |
Gangtok, May 24: If your Sikkim sojourn was marred by rash driving by a local taxi driver or a bad service that you received on the road, all you have to do is fill up a form and hand it over to the traffic police here or post it back here from your hometown.
The East district traffic police have started circulating forms among hotels and tour operators in Gangtok where tourists write down their feedback on the services they receive here.
Serious charges in the form, which is also available online on the Facebook page of the East district traffic police, will be investigated and quick action will be taken against the driver, said officials.
Apart from the taxi number, the form asks the passengers whether they were overcharged or felt safe and comfortable while travelling.
The passenger can also complain if the driver over sped or smoked and used cellphone while driving, or was drunk.
There is also space on the one-page form to record good performances of the drivers.
A remark box is also there on the feedback form where the passengers can give suggestions on tourism and traffic and road management. The tourists can also narrate their experience while travelling in Sikkim.
On Saturday, around 3,000 forms were handed out at the Third Mile checkpost to tourists travelling towards Chhangu Lake. Forms were distributed at the Vajra taxi stand for those travelling towards North Sikkim, and at Deorali for visitors going towards Siliguri.
A suggestion-cum-complaint box has also been set up at the traffic booth near the tourism information centre in Gangtok.
“We have uploaded a format of the form on the Facebook page for feedback on errant and dangerous drivers. It can be downloaded and filled in electronically and sent through email or post after tourists reach their home towns,” said deputy superintendent of police (East and North Sikkim traffic) Dhiren Lama.
One can also hand over the forms to any police station or police outpost here, a traffic cop on duty or to the Travel Agents’ Association of Sikkim (TAAS), the Sikkim Hotels and Restaurants’ Association (SHRA) or to any hotel reception counter or the tourism office at Gangtok.
Earlier, the only option passengers had was to lodge a complaint with the nearest police station in case they wanted to report something.
Lama said the contents and questions in the form would keep changing depending on the suggestions and analysis of the feedback. He added that those drivers who would have negative remarks regularly would be kept under observation by the traffic police.
The forms, he said, will serve as an ACR (annual confidential report) of the drivers.
Associations to which the drivers are affiliated would be asked to sensitise those who have received negative remarks from their passengers.
The traffic police have teamed up with the SHRA for proper distribution of the feedback forms that would be available in 670 hotels in Gangtok.
“We distributed around 600 forms at 15 odd hotels located on MG Marg here in Gangtok. These forms will be made available at the hotel reception counters. We have decided to print 10,000 forms for this year and will distribute 3,000 forms for this season, which is nearing its end,” said SHRA president Bhanu Rasaily.
According to Lama, 71 persons were killed in road accidents in Gangtok last year and about 20 per cent of them were tourists.
“If we manage to instil a sense of safety among the tourists while travelling, this will boost tourist inflow to Sikkim. Tourists will also now be happy that there is an easy system in place to check poor transport services in Sikkim. Once the word spreads around, it will help in bringing in more tourists to Sikkim,” Rasaily said.
Joint secretary of the TAAS and tour operator Phurba Sherpa said most of the drivers in Sikkim do not have any problems with the initiative and they have become alert knowing that their performance and service can now be monitored by the passengers.
Tourists can also post pictures on the Facebook page of the traffic police to report violations of road rules.