Pre-paid taxi: Four passengers per vehicle, increase in fare

Dimapur | January 30 : The pre-paid taxi service between Dimapur and Kohima was launched recently in the state capital amidst opposition from Dimapur based taxis. Said to be for the welfare of the passengers, the new system has brought with it certain changes. Significant among them is the increase in fare while the other is the number of passengers a taxi can carry.
Initiated by the All Nagaland Taxi Association (ANTA), it is now mandatory for every taxi to ferry only four passengers unlike the earlier practice of ‘five passengers per taxi’, notwithstanding the fact that it was never actually mandated by the authorities in concern.
The ‘4-1’ (four passengers plus the driver) system is for small vehicles like vans and cars.   Kohima-Dimapur passengers can now smile as they can now travel in comfort. However, there has been a slight increase in the fare. It has now been enhanced to Rs. 200.
A senior executive of the ANTA from Kohima said that the raise in fare was necessitated in order to make up for the ‘passenger cut down’. The earlier official rate was Rs. 130 per passenger, though it was not heeded in reality with the drivers charging Rs. 150.  
Asked whether the passenger fare will remain uniform throughout the year, the executive was not very sure on that matter, however. It will depend, most probably, on the mercy of the monsoons.   The association has already submitted a proposal to the transport authorities on the increase of fare and the ‘4-1’ system about two months back, the executive said, though they are awaiting a response from the authorities. Nevertheless, the fare was enhanced.    
It will not be long before the pre-paid system is also put in place in Dimapur. Executives of the union based in Dimapur are believed to have had a change of heart in this aspect. The union’s senior executives are likely to meet in Kohima on January 31 to discuss the possibility, the ANTA executive disclosed.
The initiative is for the welfare of passengers as well as the security of the drivers. The pre-paid system will also hopefully keep in check the menace of ‘private cars’ sashaying as commercial taxis, the executive averred.  ‘Private cars’ running as taxis without authorized permits have been a ‘pain in the neck’ for commercial taxis for years, stealing from them potential passengers. A taxi driver with an authorized taxi permit estimated that there are around 50-60 unauthorized taxis which shuttle daily in the Kohima-Dimapur route.  
Prior to the implementation of the pre-paid service, the daily traffic of passenger taxis shuttling between Kohima and Dimapur was around 150-160, the executive said. Now, a few days since the implementation, it has noticeably come down to about 110-120 taxis per day.
The cut-down in traffic was attributed to the unauthorized ‘private taxis’ not registering with the ANTA ticket booking booth at Kohima. Nevertheless, the ANTA executive did not rule out the unauthorized taxis going off the road.
“Those ‘private taxis’ have now shifted base… they no longer park their vehicle in the taxi parking lot here (Kohima).” The executive averred that the ‘private taxis’ park themselves at important intersections of the town, waiting for passengers.
Passengers can also inform the ticket booking counter about loss of personal belongings left behind in taxis they had traveled. The passengers must posses the ticket they had bought for the journey for that matter.