Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free movement of Taxis and auto-ricksaws across Delhi and NCR areas

The days are not far when you will be able to hire a taxi or auto to Noida or Ghaziabad or Gurgaon from Delhi. The much awaited Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement among Governments of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for unrestricted movement of taxis and autos in the National capital Region (NCR) has finally been signed and published as gazette notification on 11th December, 2008. It was published in national dailies like the TOI on 13th Dec, 2008. For your reference the gazzette notification no. is PCO(STA)/DTC Cell/06/07/pt.II/482It took almost a year since the news about such an agreement was first published. But anyway, it is better be late than never.

What does it mean?
Take for example I live in Kaushambi, which falls in Ghaziabad district of UP. One side of the road around the Anand Vihar ISBT falls in Delhi and the other in UP. Kaushambi falls on the UP side of the road. Thus taxis and autos available from Delhi airport or railway station will not ply to my residence across the road in UP. I had to hire a taxi or auto to Anand Vihar and then get into a cycle ricksaw to reach my home. While making the trip to airport or railway station, I either have to reach Anand Vihar or hire a taxi from a local operator in this area which charges a hefty premium. Further they use private cars for this business, which is not only illegal but also unsafe.

Of late Easy Cab had started operating to NCR areas. But hey charges about Rs15/- per KM. This is OK for summer as taxis are AC, but much higher than the pre-paid taxis operated by Delhi Traffic Police. In the police operated pre-paid taxi counters at Delhi airport, you might observe a notice saying taxi to Noida not available from here. Fortunately you have Easy Cab now. Earlier you had to use the similar tactics used by me. I am lucky that my house is less than a kilometer from the border. But for places like Noida or Indirapuram, it certainly is tough.

The catch:
The details published in news papers on 13th December, 2008 had few catches as under:
1) It is not free for all situation for autos, i.e., not all autos will ply across border. Only the ones holding special permit for this will ply. However all taxis can ply across border in NCR areas. I had assumed this as there is no mention on no. of taxis being allowed.
2) All such vehicles have to be registered in NCR areas. The definition of NCR encompasses a large area, e.g. it includes even Meerut.
3) No. of autos for this mutual agreement is fixed, e.g., registered in Delhi but allowed to ply to UP NCR areas (like Vaishali, Kaushambi, Indirapuram and Ghaziabad) is 4000. Another 4000 from UP can ply to Delhi. I think 8000 autos altogether is a good number. Same is the no. agreed between Delhi and Haryana.
4) The autos and taxis registered in NCR and plying across border will be given a colour code and logo for easy recognition. There no mention what these indicators it will be. So one need to look out for this.

Anyway, almost a week has passed since gazetisation of this agreement. But no taxis or autos have started to ply yet. It may take few more days, may be months for this to materialize into practical reality.

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