qutub_mamajiwala wrote:http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/othe ... 721649.cms
CABBIE LOSES LICENCE AFTER TOURIST TAKES CASE TO PMO
CHEAT IN INDIA: Rs 500 for 1-km airport ride
A year after a Singaporean was overcharged, authorities finally crack down on errant driver, taxi operator.
The culture among Mumbai cabbies to gouge money out of tourists spurred a complaint from Singapore to the Prime Minister's Office, a frantic hunt for a cheating driver and suspension of his licence — a crackdown in which Mirror played a small but important role.
The action against overcharging comes nearly a year after Singaporean Raymond Yeo, 50, took up the issue with the PMO.
Raymond, who visits Mumbai for business and leisure, was charged Rs 500 for a 1-km trip from The Lalit hotel to T2 terminal on April 11, 2015. The driver initially quoted a fare of Rs 200, but demanded more when the trip ended saying Raymond's two suitcases were "excessive baggage".
Raymond paid Rs 500 and later sent a complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office, which has been trying hard to woo foreign tourists and investors.
The complaint reached the Maharashtra transport commissioner's Bandra office last Monday and the driver, Jamil Ahmad Khan from Marol, was tracked down four days later. He initially denied driving Raymond to the airport, but Mirror helped authorities expose his lie by forwarding his picture that the Singaporean had taken that day.
On Wednesday, Khan's licence was suspended and the tourist travel permit of the cab he drove was withdrawn for 30 days. The cab is owned by Thane's Mahek Tours and Travels, according to RTO officials.
Raymond said he was glad, and a little surprised, that action had been taken over an issue that enrages thousands of cab users in Mumbai day in, day out. "I searched online where I could register a complaint [with the PMO]. I mentioned the taxi's registration number in the complaint. I never expected that the Indian government would look into the issue and take action," he told Mirror from Singapore. "My only objective was to highlight the issue because I have heard from my Indian friends that this happens often and people don't report it."
Raymond works as a sales manager with an electronics firm in Singapore. He checked out of The Lalit on the morning of April 11, 2015, and ordered a ride to the airport around 10.30 am.
Driver refused metre fare
"I hired a private taxi from outside the hotel. I have been to Mumbai before and know that the hotel is barely a kilometre from the international airport. The driver refused to ply by the metre and told me the fare would be Rs 200. I knew I was being cheated, but I was in a hurry to reach the airport so I agreed," Raymond said.
"But when we reached the airport, the driver demanded Rs 500 saying I was carrying excessive luggage. I was shocked as I only had a handbag and two suitcases. I could not believe he was asking more money for the luggage than the journey fare."
Complaint's long journey
Raymond, who was getting late for his flight, argued with Khan briefly before paying him Rs 500. As he walked into the terminal, he decided to report the incident to the PMO.
His complaint described Khan's actions as "pure malpractice and corruption" and stressed on the fact that such incidents were ruining India's image. The complaint made its way to the transport ministry in Delhi on February 16 this year before finally landing in state transport commissioner Shyam Wardhane's office on March 28. It was forwarded to the Thane RTO, where the cab is registered, on March 31.
The inquiry into the complaint once again exposed serious lapses in the vehicle registration process: the Shahpur address listed against the taxi in RTO's files does not exist, officials found. The car's insurance records with the RTO helped them find the correct address. "But we could not find the vehicle owner or the driver at the location," an RTO officer said.
Social activist Binu Varghese came to the RTO's aid. He and a group of volunteers kept a watch near the international airport, from where Khan often picked up customers, for two days. "I shared the cab's licence plate number with the volunteers, one of whom spotted the car on April 2 and rang me up," he said.
RTO officers soon reached the spot and seized the cab. Khan told officials he didn't own the vehicle and he had started driving it only recently. Another driver with the cab firm may have overcharged Raymond.
On Wednesday, Raymond shared a picture of Khan he had clicked with Mirror. We forwarded it to Varghese, who confirmed with RTO officers that Khan was the same driver that overcharged Raymond.
"We have suspended the cab owner's permit for 30 days and are considering to cancel it permanently. We have asked Andheri RTO to suspend the driver's licence," said Thane deputy RTO Hemangini Patil.
Former Crime Branch officer Sachin Waze said NGO 'Support' had launched a drive to identify cars registered on fake addresses. "We have identified over 100 cars. We hope the campaign will help prevent incidents in which tourists are fleeced," he said.
http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/othe ... 721649.cms
Qutub bhai, what is the point that you are trying to illustrate with this post?