Railways may shift cab counters

Even as autorickshaw and taxi unions in the city are joining the all-India strike on Tuesday over a host of issues, the Railways said they could partially accept one of their demands, provided the request came from the Delhi traffic police. 

One of the key demands of the taxi and auto drivers is to relocate taxi stands and prepaid booths at the three railway stations – New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin — from their current locations to prime spots adjacent to the counters of radio taxi operator Meru.

The prepaid booths for Delhi's yellow-and-black painted autos and taxis are run by the Delhi traffic police.  

While railway officials said the location of auto and taxi stands would not be changed, they could change the location of the prepaid booths. 

“The location of the taxi stands would not change as the laning of movement of different sets of vehicles has been done in consultation with the traffic police. The location of prepaid booths could be changed, provided the request comes from the traffic police,” said Divisional Railway Manager Ashwani Lohani. 

The auto and taxi drivers claim they are at disadvantage as Meru cabs have been provided  booking counters right in front of station exits despite their fares being higher than ordinary taxis. 

“Most passengers hire radio taxis by default as they see the counter right in front of them. Despite our fares being lower, we lose out on passengers,” said a taxi driver. 

The drivers allege that the private taxi operators have been given preferential treatment as they pay rental to the railways for operating the counter - and in turn charge their passengers extra.

Railway officials confirmed that Meru pays Rs 1.75 crore per year as rental to the Railways for their two counters at New Delhi railway station – one at the Ajmeri Gate exit and the other on the  Paharganj side.  

But union leaders said railway officials should relocate the prepaid booths of ordinary taxis and autos without levying any extra charge in the interest of the commuters. 

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