Vantage point

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I applaud the Mumbai police for the ingenuity and initiative they have shown in solving a very real and dangerous problem in the city - the vast majority (from my personal experience of two years, this majority is around 2-3%) of taxi and rickshaw drivers who tamper with meters, over-charge customer, and refuse short distance fares. I congratulate them for getting to the root of the problem. They should be feted for using technology to solve undoubtedly the biggest problem the city faces.

These taxi and rickshaw drivers always had it coming. Did you know that the biggest market segment for imported scotch whiskey, Russian caviar, Armani suits and ipod nanos in the city are these taxi and rickshaw drivers? I never get a table at a fancy restaurant in the city because these buggers are always there. They have also driven up the prices of first class air tickets.

This new system will teach them. When a compaint the filed, the miscreants will be nabbed by the police and heavily chastised. And to those who say that this is just another way for police to further harrass these drivers and extort bribes from them, I say pfooey.

I am also glad that government officials, IAS officers, and cops have not given a moments' thought to measures like deregulation of the taxi and rickshaw permit system, or allowing private companies to run taxi and rickshaw services. It is also heartening to note that money is not being wasted on useless and frivolous measures like setting up automatic vending machines for local train and bus tickets, putting the RTI process online, disclosure of road building contract details, or having such robust online complaint mechanisms for getting passports, drivers' licenses, property registration, pension disbursement, electricity complaints etc.

Fatcat taxiwallahs and rickshawwallahs are the real problem. Hurray for the common man!