It is likely to be opened soon as a new contract is said to have been finalised

: Get set to pay more if you decide to hire a call-taxi from the Central Railway Station. The pre-paid call-taxi counter in the station has been lying vacant for over two weeks now after the contract with the firm that was managing the operations got over.

This is causing hardship to many travellers as other call-taxi operators are demanding more fare.

When the passengers find the pre-paid taxi counter closed, they either proceed to the pre-paid auto stand or haggle with call-taxis. Families, with children and senior citizens, travelling with several pieces of luggage, have little option but to settle for the fare demanded.

“On Wednesday, the call-taxi operators were charging between Rs.450-500 to Adyar, whereas I used to pay only between Rs.180 and Rs.200 to the pre-paid taxi service,” said Rense Jacob, who returned from Kerala.

“A policeman on duty in the area did not know why the pre-paid counter was closed. None of the call-taxis was ready to reduce their fare,” he said.

After bargaining another group paid Rs.350 to go to Choolaimedu. Some call-taxi drivers said the counter is likely to be opened soon as a new contract has been finalised. The pre-paid fare may, however, see an increase as the new contractor has agreed to pay more annual fee to the Southern Railway.

According to a senior official in Southern Railway, Fast Track Call Taxi has been awarded the contract to operate the pre-paid counter for three years and the fares are also fixed by the firm.

Redsun C. Ambigapathy, managing director, Fast Track Call Taxi, said operational hitches were behind the delay in commencing the operations at the Central Station. At the latest, they hope to start by September 10. He, however, denied that there were plans to increase the fares. “We are also planning to give the booth a facelift, appoint a team which knows at least three languages and provide uniform to all staff,” he said.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012