The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rush-hour green light for shuttle taxis

Pressured by taxi operators and the public, the transport department is planning to introduce shuttle taxi services in the city during office hours.

According to transport department officials, the move will “legalise” the shuttle services that a large number of taxi drivers are currently operating.

According to the plan, taxis will be allowed to ferry a maximum of five passengers and all the passengers will have to board the vehicle at a particular place. The taxi will not stop midway to pick up passengers.

Initially, shuttle services will be allowed from a few particular points to the central business district. The terminal spots will be finalised after a discussion with the taxi operators.

There will be some selected routes for shuttle services, like Esplanade to Salt Lake, Baguiati, Jadavpur and Deshapriya Park. The fare will be by the meter. If a passenger wants to get off midway and not travel the entire stretch, he/she will have to pay the fare for the full distance.

For example, the fare (by the meter) from Esplanade to Ultadanga is around Rs 55. Passengers in the shuttle taxi will pay Rs 11 or Rs 12 each, but if anyone gets off at Maniktala or Kankurgachhi, he still pays the same sum. Taxis for shuttle services will be parked at different points, but not more than 10 vehicles in any particular spot.

“Taxi operators have been urging us for a long time to allow shuttle services, which will increase their income. Many people urged me personally to introduce shuttle taxi services. We are considering the proposal submitted by the taxi operators and a guideline will be announced soon,’’ said transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.

“A major section of the people cannot afford taxis, except in an emergency. But if one can travel at one-fifth the fare, a passenger will take a cab. It means faster travel and comfort for less money. On the other hand, taxi drivers will not have to wait for hours for a passenger,’’ the minister pointed out.

The government will not earn any extra revenue from the move. Chakraborty said the transport department had people’s interests in mind while considering the issue. He will convene a meeting soon with all the taxi associations to finalise the system and guidelines.

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