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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Sikkim government to start app for taxi booking on share basis between Gangtok and Siliguri

The motor vehicle division of the transport department will be implementing the Sikkim Cab app soon with a special category for booking on a “sharing basis” between Gangtok to Siliguri, Bagdogra and NJP

Vivek Chhetri Darjeeling Published 20.06.24, 11:35 AM
Representational image

Representational image Sourced by the Telegraph

The Sikkim government will start a mobile app, Sikkim Cab, for online taxi booking on a “sharing basis” between Gangtok and Siliguri.

The move comes to counter recent tourist charges of “exploitative” cab rates in Sikkim.

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The motor vehicle division of the transport department will be implementing the Sikkim Cab app soon with a special category for booking on a “sharing basis” between Gangtok to Siliguri, Bagdogra and NJP.

Under “sharing basis”, different passengers will share the vehicle. “Seating shall be limited to five passengers only,” a transport official added.

The transport department has asked interested parties to enlist their vehicles with the department as early as possible.

“Interested owners and drivers of luxury and maxi cab vehicles have been requested to provide their details to the transport department,” said a source.

The vehicle should not be older than 10 years. Luxury vehicles can charge only 1,000 per passenger. The other “maxi” cab can charge 400 per seat.

“The fund settlement of taxi fare share will be done within seven days by the department to the account mentioned in the Sikkim Cab app,” the source said.

The initiative comes at a time when there have been rising complaints of taxis overcharging tourists in the state.

As recently as May 13, the Union ministry of tourism had written to Sikkim tourism and civil aviation expressing concerns that tourists visiting the state had complaints of “exploitative” cab and permit rates and lack of amenities for visitors, among other things.

The Sikkim government then constituted a high-level committee to look into the grievances.

The state government then issued an order stating that luxury taxi taking tourists to Nathula, Tsomgo and Baba Mandir from Gangtok cannot charge more than 7,000 and the limit for normal vehicles has been fixed at 6,500, both inclusive of permit fees.

“Some taxis are still demanding Rs 10,000 for a visit to Nathula,” complained a hotelier in Gangtok.

The Sikkim transport department also issued an order to government offices not to engage vehicles older than 15 years by their offices.

Tourist rescue over

The Sikkim government completed the evacuation of all tourists from north Sikkim on the third and final day on Wednesday.

While 158 persons were rescued on the last day, the total number of tourists who returned home safely from north Sikkim in the past three days stands at 1,447. The tourists had been stuck in north Sikkim following heavy rains since June 12 that had blocked roads in numerous places.

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