Taxi stir loses fizz; owners may get new passes

Even as owners of commercial vehicle owners are hoping that Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway (NDTPL) starts issuing monthly passes with unlimited trips, the agitation by the taxi and lorry drivers against the operation of the toll plaza at Sadahalli Gate near the Bangalore Airport seems to have lost fizz over the last week.

Huge claims were made by taxi associations that close to 35,000 taxis will stop plying to and from the airport till the toll collection - which they claim is illegal - is stopped. However, apart from the initial three hours - during which taxi drivers protested near the toll plaza on February 12 - there has been no pressure on NDTPL or NHAI to stop toll collection or reduce fares.

Some quarters of the taxi and lorry owners’ associations have claimed that NDTPL has planned to issue monthly passes with unlimited trips as against the current monthly pass costing Rs 600, allowing only 50 trips a month.

However, top officials of both NDTPL and NHAI are unaware of any such move. A K Mathur, General Manager, NHAI (Karnataka and Goa), said any revision of fare will need to be cleared by the Centre. The state government cannot bring changes to the fare chart.

“Monthly passes with limited trips will continue to be issued and revision of fares isn’t possible. There are no plans to heed the demands of the agitating groups,” said Mathur.

He said necessary measures had been taken to ensure farmers and private vehicle owners residing around the toll plaza on NH-7 are not affected adversely. “Monthly passes with unlimited trips are provided only to these residents. There is no reason to do so for commercial vehicle owners,” he said.

Taxi associations are also considering alternative routes to the airport, bypassing the toll gates. However, the alternative routes will be used only after taking permission from residents.

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