People demand meter system for cabs in twin cities

* Cabbies’ representative asks authorities to first maintain prices of petrol and CNG and then introduce the meter system in taxicabs
People demand meter system for   cabs in twin cities

ISLAMABAD: Commuters in the twin cities have demanded that the authorities concerned force cab drivers to install meters in their vehicles.
The excuse of non-availability of compress natural gas (CNG) is rapidly increasing among the taxi drivers, where as the citizens are forced to pay extra money to reach their respective destinations.
Hundreds of people are reportedly forced to travel in taxies due to poor public transport system in the twin cities. 
Shahid Nazir, a resident of Sector G7, told APP that five to six months back, the fare of taxi ranged between Rs 100 and Rs 150 inside the city, but now it had doubled. 
“Taxi drivers demand more than double the fare if you stop them in posh sectors like F6 or F8,” said Maria Khan, a resident of Sector F10, adding that it was also difficult for females to bargain with the cabbies.
A commuter, Naeem Ali, said that people belonging to far-flung areas visiting the twin cities were compelled to pay more fare, as they did not know how to bargain with the drivers here. He said there was no fare list available in cabs.
The president of the taxi drivers’ association, Malik Aftab, said that prices of petrol and CNG must be maintain if the authorities wanted to introduce the meter system in taxicabs.
He said that meter system would stop the routine hard talks between the taxi drivers and the bargaining commuters.
He said that taxi drivers were already paying taxes in respect of permit, token, cylinder, fitness, endorsement, etc, and that the meter system would put more burdens on cabbies.
About 50,000 cabbies are reportedly associated with this business in the twin cities. 
Aftab said it was impossible for drivers to run taxis on petrol, as passengers could not afford the fare.
The general secretary of the taxi drivers’ association, Tanvir Ahmad, said that he drove to Attar (Harri Pur) while consuming petrol for filling the CNG in his taxicab, but the operators of a CNG station there had also added extra charges saying that they ran generators at the station.
Regional Transport Authority Secretary Lubna Riaz told this scribe that the meter system was first introduced in yellow cabs in 1992, but with the passage of time, it got older and got dysfunctional.
She said that there was no mechanism for fixing cab fares in the capital. 
She, however, added that the authority was working on a mechanism to control the overcharging by drivers.
Another official of the RTA said that the meter system was a commuter-friendly mechanism, but the transporters usually misused it.
He said that fixing the rate per kilometre would provide an opportunity to the cabbies to cash the situation. 

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