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No-refusal cab? Count till 72

- Fleet too small to end taxi tyranny

The Mamata Banerjee government on Thursday vowed to eradicate taxi refusal by launching a fleet of 72 no-refusal cabs, too few for a city where thousands of commuters are snubbed and harassed by cabbies every day.

The blue-and-white Swift Dzire taxis flagged off by transport minister Madan Mitra have “No Refusal” in bold emblazoned on them.

Sources in the transport department said 2,000 no-refusal taxis would be rolled out in phases, half of them air-conditioned. The fare is the same as that of regular taxis, except a 25 per cent premium if a passenger wants the AC switched on.

Minister Mitra insisted that the “No Refusal” sign on the new taxis didn’t mean the rest were free to refuse passengers. “We have decided to have the police organise a training session to drive home this point,” he said.

A road test by Metro soon after showed that Calcutta’s couldn’t-care-less cabbies need disciplining more than “training”. Ten out of 11 yellow taxis refused us a ride from the city centre between 5.15pm and 5.55pm.

Place: Chandni Chowk

Destination: Lake Town

Driver: That will be Rs 250.

Metro: Why so much?

Driver: If you don’t have the money, go take a bus.

Taxi speeds away

Taxi No: WB 04D 6999

 

Place: Central Avenue, in front of Indian Coffee House

Destination: Lake Town

Driver: I won’t go that way.

Metro: But why?

Driver: Are you new to the city?

Metro: Will you go or should I call the police?

Driver: Do whatever you want. Don’t waste my time.

Taxi No: WB 04 7267

 

Place: Esplanade crossing

Destination: Salt Lake

Driver: Waves to indicate he won’t go

Taxi No: WB 25 8655

 

Place: Lenin Sarani, in front of Tipu Sultan Masjid

Destination: Salt Lake

Driver: Slows down, hears “Salt Lake” and speeds away

Taxi No: WB 04E 0016

 

Place: In front of Metro cinema, on JL Nehru Road

Destination: Behala

Driver: I will go towards Jadavpur (speeds away).

Taxi No: WB 04D 4122

 

Place: JL Nehru Road- Lindsay Street crossing

Destination: Howrah

Driver: Pay me Rs 200.

Metro: But that’s more than double the fare.

Driver: If I go there, they will force me into the queue for prepaid taxis

Metro: I will complain to the police.

Driver: (Laughing) Do what you want to.

Taxi No: WB 04D 4511

 

Place: Same as above

Destination: Howrah

Driver: Didn’t you hear what he (the other cabbie) said?

Metro: I will call the cops.

Driver: Take my car number. There are cops around; go and complain.

Taxi No: WB 04B 4628

 

Place: Near New Market

Destination: Behala

Driver: I won’t go that way.

Metro: Why?

Driver: My home is in the opposite direction.

Taxi No: WB 04B 1923

 

Place: Same as above

Destination: Nagerbazar

Driver: I already have a passenger. Look at the meter.

Two girls approach the driver to go to Ultadanga. He asks for Rs 50 extra, they agree and the taxi leaves

Taxi No: WB 04B 8770

 

Place: Ganesh Chandra Avenue–CR Avenue crossing

Destination: Howrah

Driver: I won’t go that way.

Metro: I will call the cops.

Driver: Don’t irritate me.

Taxi No: WB 04F 0175

 

THE EXCEPTION

Place: Dorina crossing

Destination: Behala

Driver: Get inside

Taxi No: WB 04F 5435

Share your taxi trauma with ttmetro@abpmail.com