Taxis remain parked during a strike in Kolkata (File photo)& |  Photo Credit: IANS
- Bengal Taxi Association meets with West Bengal Transport Department, demand fare hike
- An estimated 20,000 taxis were on the roads of Kolkata, Howrah, North and South 24 Parganas
Kolkata: The cost of diesel is skyrocketing in the country, a litre of diesel in Kolkata now costs rupees 75.32. This has now become an additional burden on taxi operators in the city who are already battling losses due to the coronavirus lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bengal Taxi Association has demanded a rise in fare to be able to carry on with their service in Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts. In a meeting with the Additional Director of the WB Transport Department, the Bengal Taxi Association has demanded a fare revision from the existing rupees 15 per kilometre to rupees 25 per kilometre.
The West Bengal government has sought time till July 14 to convey their final decision. Bengal Taxi Association is adamant, if the fare doesn’t increase, taxis across Kolkata and adjoining districts will go on a strike.
“Taxi fare was last increased in June 2018; we haven’t revised the fare since then. The cost of diesel is unimaginable now, and we have already incurred heavy losses due to the lockdown. It isn’t possible for us to run yellow taxis under such distress”, said Mr. Bimal Guha, General Secretary of Bengal Taxi Association to TIMES NOW.
An estimated 20,000 taxis were on the roads of Kolkata, Howrah, North and South 24 Parganas. With the lockdown coming into action hardly 4000 taxis are plying across West Bengal now. With several drivers who are natives of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh returning home, the shortage in taxis will only hurt the daily commuters.
With shrinking public transport options, daily commuters too are worried to keep their professional commitments unhindered. “Before the lockdown I used to take the public bus but with the Covid-19 scare, I have no option but to switch to a taxi. It’s tough to get any public transport on time to commute. It’s a struggle to reach work and return home”, said Ankita, a marketing professional.