Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Mar 16, 2002

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Bane of the auto brigade

R. Y. Narayanan


THE advent of call taxis in Coimbatore a few months back seems to have brought a smile on the face of the commuter.

The growing popularity of call taxis can be gauged from the rising discontent in the ranks of the tourist taxi operators, who feel that their business has eroded with the entry of the call taxis. Automen too are allegedly hostile not only towards the call taxi drivers but passengers who use this facility.

The call taxi has come as a relief to the people of Coimbatore who have tried in vain to get auto drivers to fix meters on their vehicles. Successive District Collectors and officials in the transport department have tried to bring the automen round to fixing meters. However, the call taxi operators have not had a smooth run either. Apart from having to face hostile autorickshaw drivers, they also have to contend with hoax calls . The installation of caller ID machines in their offices has answered this problem to an extent.

The call taxi operators are also becoming innovative. While one operator has offered free rides to pregnant women, many are offering fixed rates on tourist and religious circuits.

Within the city, the operators charge Rs 30 for the first three km and Rs 8 for every subsequent km.

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