Bike taxi operators approach state govt for plying in entire city
Kolkata: Taking a cue from the success of bike taxis in New Town, the operators have approached the state government to allow them to ply the vehicles in the entire city.
New Town is the first area in eastern India to introduce bike taxis around five-and-a-half months ago.
The bike taxis are allowed to ply in New Town and Salt Lake. There are two agencies, namely, One Man Taxi and K Bike Taxi that operate in New Town, have a collective strength of 55. K Bike Taxi has proposed to add another 25 bike taxis including scooties. There will be seven women drivers to operate the scooties, said Kalim, owner of K Bike Taxi.
Both Kalim and Raghav Randhar, who runs the One Man Taxi said that talks have begun with senior state government officials to allow them to operate in Kolkata. "We have approached senior officials of the state government and they are discussing among themselves. Let's see what decision they take. If they give us the green signal, we will give our proposal in writing," said Randhar.
The decision to approach the state government is the result of repeated requests from the users to extend the area of operation of bike taxis.
"The customers request us to drop them to Garia or Baghajatin or Dum Dum. The users are happy and are interested in the extension of the area of operation. So we have approached the state government," said Randhar.
Kalim said: "Our target is those who avail auto-rickshaws and taxis and if we can extend our service to Kolkata, then we can cater to many more people with point to point facility."
The state Transport department had studied the proposal to introduce bike taxis in New Town for nearly one year. Talks were held between Debashis Sen, additional chief secretary and chairman of Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) and Alapan Bandyopadhyay, additional chief secretary in charge of transport to make the new transport system a foolproof one. It was introduced in New Town and later extended to Salt Lake.
The bike taxis are driven at an average speed which vary anything between 40 and 50 km/hour. The fare is Rs 20 as basic fare and then Rs 5 per kilometre.
HIDCO has set up stands to park the bike taxis in New Town. The operators said the drivers are given seven days' training before being inducted in the fleet. They use helmets and even the pillion rider has to wear a helmet provided by the driver.
Raincoats are also provided in rainy seasons. Kalim said in New Town most of the users are office-goers. "So far the response is very good and we hope this new mode of transportation system will be a very popular one soon."