Photo: Bhutan Taxi Associations

Taxi Association to initiate CCTV cameras in taxis to prevent theft and sexual harassment

With cases of alleged sexual harassment against taxi drivers and with complaints of losing belongings in taxis, the Taxi Association of Bhutan has a plan to install CCTV cameras in the taxis to curb such issues.

Executive Director of the Taxi Association Tshering Penjor said advocacy is one way of doing it and the cameras is another way of addressing the allegations against the taxi drivers. He said currently, there are scenarios wherein the passengers leave their belonging in taxis and later allege drivers of theft, while the fact sometimes is that other passengers take the things.

In addition, there are allegation against drivers for sexually harassing and molesting passengers.

There are around 7, 000 taxi drivers in the country of which 3,000 members are registered with the Taxi Association of Bhutan. There are around 20 female taxi drivers.

Tshering Penjor, said given all the issues and challenges faced by the taxi drivers pertaining to those two issues, the association has come up with a plan to install CCTV cameras in all the taxis in the country.  

“This will help us monitor and report any criminal conduct by the drivers. We will monitor them from our association office. There will be some hiccups and it is going to be challenging, but we are hoping for the best out of it,” he added.

In terms of procurement of the cameras, he said that they will approach government for fund support. Otherwise, after consulting with all the relevant agencies the association will take the initiative to procure the cameras.

The individual taxi drivers will have to bear the expenses. If the cost is high, they will have the provision to pay the amount in installment, but if it’s less than they can make a one-time payment. If they are to install the best quality camera, they will cost Nu 15, 000 for one camera.  

Each taxi will have to install two cameras, one in the front and one at the back. The front camera will help in monitoring the happenings inside the taxi while the back camera will help them monitor the safety of their taxis when parked.

Monitoring all the CCTV cameras would be challenging, he said, adding that, “This is why we will monitor those taxis against whom we receive a complaint. The moment we receive a complaint of theft of sexual harassment, we can immediately track down the taxi and figure out the issues.”

This will further act as evidence should there be any criminal conduct in the particular taxi, and this will help police in investigating their case without having to waste much of their time collecting evidences.

Passengers are encouraged to come forward and lodge a complaint should they face any sort of harassment, be it verbal or physical. They can contact the association along with a taxi number.

Meanwhile, he said that given the price hike in the commodities and frequent increase in the fuel price the local charge has been increased to Nu 120 from Nu 100. The price was not formally increased by the RSTA, but the association after consulting with RSTA increased the fare.

However, he said, “The fare is not fixed and if anyone charges beyond that rate, they can than report to us or RSTA and they will be dealt as per the RSTA rule. We are also working to set different fare for inter and intra travelers.”

They are done with the inter taxi fare and they will have designated parking for the intra taxis. Once they have the parking, they will have different zones. They have submitted the proposal to RSTA and the fare might remain as Nu 120 or may go up to Nu 150 for local, it will depend on zone.

Today, taxis charge Nu 120 for local irrespective of the distance and therefore, they came up with this initiative to be fair and square. It will be more convenient for passengers as well. The initiative will be implemented in another six months, he added.

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One comment

  1. Is by law all the taxis have to have the yellow painted roof?

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