Several taxi drivers illegally park their vehicles in the service lane close to the old domestic and international terminals at the Chennai airport causing heavy traffic congestion, say commuters. Many of these drivers also charge excessive fares and cheat passengers but are not subject to any action by the police, airport users allege.
M. Srinivasan, who visited the airport last week to drop a relative, said he experienced a great deal of hardship while returning home. “It took me nearly twenty minutes to leave the airport because several taxis stationed in the service lane blocked the movement of other vehicles. Instead of directing the idling taxis to move, the police attempted to divert other vehicles,” he said.
Owing to this, he paid Rs. 60 as parking fare, though he had not parked his vehicle. As per the rules of the newly-introduced booth system in the airport, vehicle-owners must enter and exit the airport within seven minutes or pay Rs. 60 and Rs. 120 for non-premium and premium parking slots respectively.
Mumbai-based Garuda Aviation which manages the toll booths also faces many difficulties due to the illegal parking. “Often, we are not permitted to charge any of these taxis for parking and hence, we incur a huge loss. On an average, at least 100 vehicles get away every day without payment,” said an official of Garuda Aviation.
Most of these taxis charge a higher fare than the existing taxi services at the airport which include Fast Track Ltd., Aviation Express and Chennai Airport Prepaid Taxi Owners-Drivers Association.
“While we charge Rs. 450 for a trip to Anna Nagar, the ones who have parked illegally charge nearly Rs. 600 or so. People who are new to the city are easily deceived. The taxi-drivers park their vehicles in the service lane so that they can approach people before they come to us,” said a source at Fast Track Ltd.
Nearly 10-15 brokers wait in the service lane and help these taxi drivers get clients, he added.
“Difference in degree”
With passengers already irritated over what they see as the high fares charged by licensed taxi services, many are of the view that they invariably end up getting cheated.