Route tweak to restore taxi order at airport

Separate points of entry for metered taxis and app cabs in front of the terminal building at the arrival level of the Calcutta airport. Pictures by Mayukh Sengupta

Dum Dum: Separate entry and exit points have been created in the lane that metered taxis and app cabs share to pick up passengers at Calcutta airport to minimise chances of congestion.

"Yellow taxis would often enter the part of the lane meant for app cabs, creating congestion and inconveniencing passengers. The creation of separate entry and exit points will avoid such situations," a police officer said.

In the new system, introduced a few days ago, yellow taxis have to enter the lane through a point in front of gate 3C, around 160m from the point in front of gates 2A and 2B through which app cabs are allowed in.

"The system has already reduced congestion and the waiting time for passengers to board a cab," the official said.

Uber and Ola cabs share 12 slots in the lane opposite gate numbers 2A and 2B. The rest of the space in the lane - beyond gate 3 - is reserved for metered taxis.

"The distance between the sections designated for app cabs and metered taxis is long enough for the drivers not to face any problem in manoeuvring their vehicles in and out," the officer said.

The exit points of the two categories of vehicles are 50m apart from each other.

Metro had on March 10 reported how metered taxis would invade the stretch in front of the terminal building at the arrival level that was reserved for metered taxis.

The Airports Authority of India had hired former defence personnel to streamline the system but they drew a blank in the absence of permission to prosecute the drivers caught breaking the rule.

An officer of the Bidhannagar police commissionerate said the decision to set up separate entry and exit points for the two types of vehicles was taken following a study launched to identify the causes of traffic congestion in front of the terminal building at the arrival level.

"We observed and found that drivers of metered taxis would often enter the lane meant for app cabs, creating avoidable congestion. They would ignore app cab drivers' request to move and block their way," the officer said.

App cab drivers are happy with the new traffic plan. Mohammed Ashfaq, who is on the Uber platform, said: "Taxi drivers don't like us because most of the passengers have shifted from metered taxis to app cabs. They always look for pretexts to pick a fight with us. Now that they have separate entry points, chances of run-ins with them have reduced," Ashfaq said.

Sushanto Mondal, who drives a metered taxi, said the app cabs often created problems as they would wait in the lane for long periods.


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