A skeletal metered taxi service will be available from Saturday after chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided to allow a little more ease of movement for people requiring emergency travel. Initially, it was decided that 300 cabs will give service to hospital-bound patients, people attending to emergency services, even for movement of reasonable quantity of goods for the essential sectors.
Apart from some designated lockdown taxi stands at SSKM Hospital, Bhowanipore, Hazra, Kalighat, Tollygunge, Taratala, Behala 14 No Bus stand, Behala Chowrasta, Thakurpukur, Parnashree, Mominpore, Kidderpore, Esplanade, Sovabazar, Shyambazar, Belgachhia, Dum Dum, taxis will be allowed to be parked near 25 traffic guards.
“Since we receive a lot of emergency calls, we can divert them to the nearest traffic guards for emergency service,” said a senior traffic officer. Apart from Bengal Taxi Association, Progressive Taxi Union nd Calcutta Taxi Association, CITU-run taxi workers union will also provide the service.
“For the sake of lockdown, we have kept app cabs out of the purview of this skeletal service. Since app cabs are booked online, anybody and everybody can book the service. However, after assessing the demand-supply gap, we may take further decision,” said a transport department official. The app cabs, however, are providing last mile connectivity for delivery of goods.
A senior Public Vehicles Department (PVD) officer said that taxi operators were asked to keep five taxis each at important junctions across the city to help people reach their destination during an emergency. We are gearing up for the service, Bengal Taxi Association president Bimal Guha said.
“We are running a bare minimum number of taxis for people engaged in essential services. We may follow the night-service model where hospitals, IT and ITES hubs will be connected,” he added.
The Bengal Taxi Association (BTA), the city’s largest association of taxi operators in Kolkata, will run a fleet of 1,000 vehicles on a demand basis. “People in emergency can call us at 033-24753505, 033-24742249, 9339053605 or 9831364824. We ferried people to hospitals. During the lockdown, we provided doorstep services to those in need,” Sanjeeb Roy of BTA said.
The PVD official asked taxi operators to place five vehicles each at Gariahat, Sealdah, Garia, Beliaghata connector and Esplanade, he said.
After a meeting with trade and industry representatives, the CM had said on Thursday that the state was contemplating the idea of minimal transportation like giving a go-ahead to taxis to hit the streets again, but carrying not more than four persons, including the driver.
Source: Times of India