The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has decided to allow operation of 2,850 new taxis, including 500 deluxe cabs, in the Kathmandu Valley and has instructed the Department of Transport Management to register new taxis.
The government had halted registration of new cabs 15 years ago, stating there were enough taxis to cater to the demand back then.
As per DoTM, owners of old taxis that are off the road and earthquake-hit cab drivers or families with driving licence of four-wheelers can register normal taxis, while permits will be issued to companies to run deluxe taxis.
Earlier, MoPIT — based on the suggestions of a committee formed to recommend the number of taxis to be added — had planned to add 2,350 cabs. Later, it was decided to allow operation of 500 deluxe cabs.
“DoTM has already been notified of the decision regarding registration of new taxis,” said MoPIT Secretary Tulasi Prasad Sitaula. He added that in case of deluxe cabs, first preference would be given to companies to operate the service institutionally.
As per MoPIT’s decision, 1,850 normal taxis will be registered giving priority to owners of old taxis that are not in operation; 500 cabs will be reserved for quake-hit cab drivers or members of families who have a four-wheeler driving licence and want to operate taxi service; and 500 deluxe cabs will be registered for operation under company ownership.
If companies do not show interest in deluxe cabs, individuals will be permitted to operate the deluxe cab service, according to Sitaula.
Based on the outcome of operation of deluxe cabs, MoPIT plans to add 500 super deluxe cabs in the next stage. At present, the taxis in operation are normal four-wheelers with engine capacity below 1150cc.
“The decision to add new cabs after a long gap is good for passengers, as it will give them options,” said Dol Nath Khanal, senior vice president of the Federation of National Nepalese Transport Entrepreneurs. “However, a lot would also depend on how the government determines fares for deluxe taxis and brings policies to manage all taxis.”
As per the data compiled by Bagmati Zone Transport Management Office about three years ago, 5,557 units of cabs are operational in the zone. DoTM said in the first phase of adding new taxis, it was preparing to issue a notice asking owners of old taxis to claim their rights with valid documents so they are able to register new cabs in their names, as per MoPIT’s decision.