Taxis will no longer be registered in an individual’s name with the government starting a process to operate taxis only through a company with public share ownership. Only taxis owned by individuals are currently operating in Kathmandu Valley.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has directed the Department of Transport Management to formulate a working procedure about that and submit it, according to Under Secretary at the ministry Navin Kumar Pokharel. The government is preparing to start ‘cab system’, adopted by the majority of developed countries, deeming that the taxis operated by individuals are ill-managed and the taxi-operators are doing as they wish. Only the taxis currently operating inside the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) are currently operating in this system.
“Taxis were operated through companies with share ownership of public earlier as well. But the system could not be implemented then in lack of standard,” Pokharel says. “We have, therefore, asked the department to formulate standards this time. The company will be responsible if the taxis cheated or there were irregularities under this system,” he adds. The government has been studying about the number of taxis required in the Valley, according to him. He reveals that the companies willing to go into the system will be selected through competition.
GPS tracking system and automatic billing system will be installed in the taxis and the company concerned will have to monitor the taxis in this system. “The companies will monitor the taxis themselves to maintain their prestige. Individual’s taxis cannot ensure security of the citizens. The government, therefore, has concluded that the taxis now should not be registered in the name of individuals,” he adds. He reveals only the companies with sound financial condition, tracking system, and those willing to provide round-the-clock service and fulfill the basic standards will be selected.
He says the taxis now will be five, 10 and 15 seaters unlike the current taxis with the same seating capacity. The department also is positive to register new taxis under the ‘cab system’. Department sources claim that entrepreneurs are putting pressure through political and administrative channels to open new registration giving priority to those coming first. The department in this sense is under pressure from both the ministry and entrepreneurs.
There are around 5,500 taxis in the Valley, according to the Transport Management office, Bagmati. Almost 9,000 taxis were registered and in operation one and half decades ago. The government had stopped registration of new taxis in Bagmati zone in 2001. The zonal office had recommended to the department to open registration for 5,000 new taxis around three years ago citing the rising population density. The office had argued that new taxis have to be added as the existing ones were very old and dilapidated.
Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, during a public function, had also directed to start process of registering new taxis stating that the stinky taxis of Nepal are making negative impact on the tourists.
What is ‘cab system’?
‘Cab system’ is the system wherein customers can request for a taxi over the phone or other medium at any time. The vehicles are tracked through GPS, and the company directs the vehicle closest to the location of the customer to cater to that customer. This system is managed through institutional investment as all this is not possible though individual investment. Problems like leaving behind goods, losing goods, cheating and robbing will end as the passenger will know about the company concerned.