Plying commuters in private vehicles illegal, our livelihood at stake:Transport Workers Union

REPORTERS CLUB EVENT: The All Nepal Transport Workers Union Taxi Special District Committee and the Valley Taxi Entrepreneurs and Drivers Service Society has said that putting a stop to private carriers of passengers such as Tootle, Pathao and Sarara is justified due to them being illegal. They would also continue protesting private carriers until there was a mechanism and uniformity in operation.

Speaking at a special press interaction program organized at the Reporters Club members of the Taxi Union and related Entrepreneurs expressed their support to the Government of Nepal (GoN) on banning private services. Although in a recent news release the GoN has stepped back on its decision and private tech companies like Tootle, Pathao and Sarara have resumed its services.

The Chairman of the Taxi Union Special District Committee of Kathmandu Durga Shrestha speaking at the program said ” the ban on private vehicles is justified because of its illegality, the step of the GoN is motivating enough to bring a long term solution without artificiality. The legality of commercialization should  be embraced by all”

“We also have to work towards making VISIT NEPAL 2020 successful and we are supporting the government in its campaign and endeavors. We also need to question our role as taxi drivers. How are we looked upon by the government, and is the GoN willing to give us the space to represent and be a part of the campaign.

The current taxi fares are minimal and we cannot accommodate both foreign and domestic tourists. The GoN should take active steps to implement fares based on scientific calculations that will provide due compensation to the Taxi drivers. Let the government take notice of this. If the GoN does not support us and private companies and vehicles continue to provide service then we will withdraw our support” he said.

Speaking at the same program the Central Chairman of the Taxi Entrepreneur and Drivers Service Society Purna Tamang said that everyone should follow and respect the law. He said “Tootle, Pathao and Sarara are illegally using private vehicles to ply people. Private vehicles legally are not allowed to do so which is against the law.

This has to be stopped by the GoN. We have been protesting this aspect for a long time, and we need the GoN to take notice and initiate action. We have also sent our protest notes to all the concerned GoN departments and authorities.

Tamang also said “we welcomed the recent move by the GoN. We are not against the use of technology, but services like Tootle, Pathao, and Sarara are illegally using private vehicles, and hence that should be stopped. People have acquired illicit wealth because of these companies, earlier we had also protested the decision of Prime Minister K.P.Sharmal Oli to continue with the services that were using private vehicles.

“The move by the PM was shocking and unexpected. We live in a legal society run by laws. I want to question the PM, you became one through legal means, and how is it that you are now not following the law? The executive order to continue running the services of private carriers is against the law and it is extremely shameful.

Surya Tamang the in-charge of the All Nepal Transport Workers Union Taxi Special District Committee said that the “GoN’s decision to ban the use of private vehicles through the apps was welcomed and positive for the future. It is justified”.

“We will protest against the GoN if they do not control and take action against private vehicles that are plying people illegally, the government has to show seriousness towards this issue,” he said.

Finally speaking at the program Sanu Purvachanne said that “not only the private carriers are avoiding taxes, but they are also causing huge losses to the taxi drivers. We will not take this lightly and continue our protests, our livelihoods are at stake.

We are the ones following the law, and the GoN needs to cut down double taxes for us. From the past 10 years, the fares have been unchanged. We are at a big difficulty and facing continuous losses”.

“Who gave the right to decide the prices of what the private taxi companies like Tootle, Pathao, and Sarara charge? What is the mechanism to monitor this, it is daylight robbery” he said.

The program was conducted by the Secretary of the Taxi Union Top Khatri and a press release was made during the program which listed their grievances against the private companies that were taking over the competition.