| A BSTDC taxi outside the airport. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Residents and tourists can reserve taxis to travel to Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bengal in the new year.
Commercial vehicles run by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) are expected to soon have road permits for travelling to the neighbouring states. Tourism minister Sunil Kumar told The Telegraph that talks would be initiated with transport department officials for issuing the permits. The process is expected to be complete by end of December.
The BSTDC has agreements with transporters under which they run taxis, with yellow number plates, on different routes in the state. Although there is demand for these taxis for travelling outside Bihar, the vehicles cannot operate because they do not have the permits.
Kumar said: “Most of the taxis are stationed at Patna airport and anyone can book them at fixed rates on different routes in the state. However, the operators have to refuse people who want to book these vehicles for travelling to neighbouring states because the cars do not have the road permit to travel outside Bihar.
“Many of the transporters had approached the BSTDC with request for permits. The transport department is responsible for providing the permits and the tourism department will have talks with the officials concerned,” he said.
The minister promised that once the permits are issued, passengers would not face problem in travelling by the taxis outside Bihar. “Once the permits are issued, the department would prepare the rate chart,” he added.
In the first leg, Kumar said, permits would be sought for Jharkhand, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. “The process will take some time but we expect something concrete to happen by the end of next month. The department would think about providing permits for other states later,” he added.
With complaints being received from taxi operators of late payments by the BSTDC, the minister said the department is also mulling a revamp of the payment module.
“Earlier there was a big backlog but the department has been successful is clearing it. Some issues still remain and the department is trying to revamp the module so that the transporters can get their money on time,” he said.