The transport department's inefficiency in monitoring fares charged in metered and radio cabs is aiding cab operators in the city fleece the commuters with exorbitant rates.

The department has fixed stipulated fares for these cabs but many cab operators violate these rules and take passengers for a literal ride.

While Rs. 30 is the minimum fare (for first two kms) and Rs. 15 per every subsequent km travelled in a radio cab (equipped with GPRS facility), few of the operators go by the prescription.

The night charges (25 per cent extra on the total fare) that are to be levied from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. however are charged from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m., says Rajendra Kumar, a regular commuter.

The plight of passengers travelling in metered taxis is even worse.

In absence of uniformity in the fares charged, passengers are forced to bargain with operators and at times they are fleeced with excessive fares.

While, the department has fixed Rs. 10 per km as the fare for cabs powered with 1000 or below CC engines, many cab operators have fixed their own fares and offer package trips.

One such package trip is operated by Delta Cabs. It charges Rs. 200 for the first 15 kms and Rs. 10 per every km travelled thereafter.

Extra service charge

Likewise, City Cabs levies a service charge of Rs. 30 for every booking. This apart, there are many metered cabs, which collect excess fares claiming themselves to be Radio cab operators, says a member of Telugunadu Lorry and Motor Drivers Union.

Drivers of conventional taxis charge a minimum fare of Rs. 850 for a distance of 80 km to be covered in eight hours and an extra fare of Rs. 5 per km (excluding waiting charges) for every additional km travelled.

Taking advantage of lack of monitoring, many unauthorised cab operating companies have mushroomed in the city, he informs.

Strangely some officials support the operators arguing that excess charges are levied by operators as they operate premium air-conditioned cars like Innova or Indigo.

They say any complaints could be lodged on the department's toll free number 1074.

Keywords: Civic woes