Unhappy taxi drivers appeased for now and back to old business

Taxi drivers waiting for the passengers in taxi stand
Taxi drivers waiting for the passengers in taxi stand

Over 300 taxi drivers in the capital met today in RSTA hall where they shared problems faced due to the new traffic rules of pick-and-drop sites designated at different areas in town. Other than in the designated areas, taxis are not allowed to make abrupt stops to pick up passengers.

This is a follow up move from the taxi community after the first meet conducted last Sunday in Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School where taxi drivers were asked to follow the rules of pick-and-drop. The taxi drivers found the new rules inconvenient for them and for the passengers as well.

The meeting came to the conclusion that, for the time-being and until elections, they will be allowed to follow the same traffic rules as before.

Some of the taxi drivers said it was hard to follow the new traffic rules, and many of the drivers have even got pulled-over by traffic police for not complying with the rules, and were served warnings that their vehicle documents would be seized if the offence is repeated.

Another reason that the new traffic rule is not in favor pertains to the convenience factor for passengers. Drivers shared that they get various kinds of passengers – young, old, handicapped, patients, mostly office goers on weekdays and passengers carrying luggage. The taxi drivers stated it was problematic for them to leave things in the taxi parking and walk to their destinations. At times, the passengers’ destination falls where there are no taxi stands.

Taxis were not allowed to stop in the middle of a way if they happened to find a person stopping a taxi, and if caught drivers have to pay a fine of Nu 1,750.

Sangay, a taxi driver since 2007 said so far he didn’t get caught by traffic police.

“But I think I will get caught more often and will be fined for breaking the rules,” he said.

He feels that if these rules are to be implemented, problems will arise as the rules are not easy to follow.

Some say the rules have been just formed specifically for taxi drivers and not implied to city buses. Tek Nath, 27, said rules are only for the taxi drivers while city buses are free from such rules. He added there has to be equal rule for both, and the city buses must also be imposed a limit on the number of passengers it can carry.

Taxi drivers also pointed out that city buses also stopped wherever the passengers hailed for the bus to stop, and the rule must be made uniform for both taxis and buses, if the new rule should come into force.

Taxi drivers said this has really caused problems and has hampered their earning, in just two days, which is their only means of income.

Taxi tshogpa Dorji Wangchuk agreed that taxi drivers had a difficult time following the rules and although the new rules are, indeed a good thing, to help keep city free from traffic congestion and clean. However, he said such rules are causing problems for the taxi drivers, despite the best effort from RSTA, traffic police and thromde.

He said from day one he started getting number of calls from the taxi drivers complaining and frustrated for being caught and warned by police for not parking at their respective parking areas, which is inadequate.

The taxi association intends to invite the thromde people in a meeting to discuss matters as well.

“It is decided that we will be following the same old rules, which we have been following until election gets over, and next meeting will be conducted after the consultation with the public and concerned agency,” the taxi tshogpa said.

In Thimphu alone, there are about 2,500 registered taxi drivers including government service people who work over time after office.

There are three permanent parking areas for taxis, in Lungtenzampa area, local taxi parking and the other at city bus parking area.

 

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12 comments

  1. The rule for not making random stops is very important for road safety. Especially in higher speed zones and congested areas.

    Taxi drivers (not all but many) do need some rules and learn some courtesy, and also how to drive properly.

    some suggestions

    1. Taxi drivers need to follow existing traffic rules for safety of all (do not make random stops, speeding, talking on mobile etc.)
    2. Taxi drivers should not harrass women and girls
    3. RSTA should not take bribes for licensing unqualified drivers.
    4. Some areas like expressway should not allow stopping of taxis
    5. Taxi drivers should not be hanging out at taxi parkings… too rowdy and taxis are not where needed by passengers when they are hanging out in taxi parking only.

    so on so forth…

  2. What the RSTA has done is a very good move. The taxi drivers are a menace to other road users and they need to be disciplined to a great extent.

  3. Taxi drivers with due respect to the good taxi drivers -First behave on road like professional drivers and then you might get what you need. Driving like lunatics and stopping where ever you like is not one of the ways. Some months ago I was on my way home and was taking the old highway and this bloody taxi in front of me just stops in the middle to talk with a taxi coming from the other side-what the hell?

    The POLICE-where the hell are they-I know, the POLICE act dumb and just watch when taxis break the rules. POLICE-get another job if you don’t feel up to it!!! I don’t think anyone put a gun to your head to become a policeman/woman.  When you are a police person-please do your bloody job, if you can’t SAY so. We can use the money to build another school instead!  As a citizen I called 111 and they don’t know what to do half the time!!! If you want to know how taxis break the rules-Go for rounds in a BP marked alto with a hidden camera-you will be bloody amazed. 

    Please tell the uncouth city bus drivers not to blare the music and not to stop where ever and when ever the hell they bloody please. And please ask the city bus drivers not to be on mobile phones when they are driving a bus either full or empty. yeah-fine them. 

  4. Not only Taxis, many pvt vehicles too drive recklessly. When Taxi drivers stops, they stop for a few seconds just to drop or pick the passengers. Whereas with the pvt and even govt vehicle drivers don’t care while driving. 

    Main problem today I have noticed with the drivers are their age. The young drivers and old drivers are the main culprits. Old drivers including Taxi drivers needs to drive so slowly and they never bother to look back, right and left… they just know how to shift the gear and fully concentrated on front look only. And with young drivers, they will be with a black specs and drive at 70 to 80 Km per hour and they can’t see anything. they just look front and drive their cars.

    Taxis are not only the traffic rules breakers and taxis are not only the vehicles who congests our City (rather extended village. Thimphu is a extended village. Its not city or town coz it is unplanned town.)

    Plz don’t blame only the taxi drivers. only 3000 taxis are there in Thimphu out 35000 vehicles in Thimphu. Mind it. 

    • I agree. Even pvt vehicles stop whenever and wherever they want to. But if we go around with a hidden camera which the police should-the result might be a toss up. As far as I am concerned, it is the taxis that have stopped more than any vehicles. Democracy does not mean that you can do what you want. Police needs to grow some balls and fine anyone whether they are some big shots or taxi drivers friends.

  5. Now, what is it with Bhutanese politics and taxi drivers? They take birthday cake to the palace. Then the political parties court them?

  6. Wonderful initiative by the concerned authority! I truly hope the plan will be implemented after the next govt. is formed. Support from the general public will be massive.

    • How general public is going to support?? I doubt. Our public needs to carry their belongings towards taxi stand and the taxi stand will be 100 m away from where he stays. 

      and when it rains or when there is hot burning sun shine outside, how can our public bear such to stand near taxi stands????? This rule was not able to enforce just due to our public only. Think think…. think… 

  7. We can not please everyone, please enforce the rules for good of the people and nation at large. The problems of the present is temporary and we will get use to it. People want to change the world but not themselves.

  8. These rules should be implied both for taxis as well as private vehicles. otherwise, it would not be fair. Yes, there are definitely few taxi drivers to blame but they do for earning their livelihood whereas private vehicles, they try to show off. One more thing, i haven’t heard much of taxis getting into accident than the private ones, eg, expressway I always see private vehicles getting involved in accidents, am I right.

  9. People are so happy to see when taxi drivers are being fined by Traffic police. But during emergencies,  they bow down to the feet of taxi drivers. 
    Even the the people having cars with Bank Loans seems to be so happy to see this news. Dear everyone,  think of the space of Taxi stands. Unlike in other countries, our Taxi stands don’t have enough space, our taxi stands don’t have sheds (Needed during rainy season) etc…… so many problems.  

  10. Taxi walas should behave properly. They should be well disciplined because it is they who are in the front desks to well come outsiders be it Bhutanese, Indians or other tourists.

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