Passengers forced to pay toll

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Airport taxi drivers find a way to beat the hike

Hiring a taxi to the Kempegowda International Airport will now cost more as passengers will have to pay toll at the Sadahalli Gate toll plaza. Earlier, toll was included in the taxi fare. Taxi drivers, who staged protests recently against the toll hike claiming that they were hard hit, have now transferred the burden to passengers.

“Paying Rs. 115 toll from the fare we collect from passengers would be unsustainable,” said Radhakrishna Holla of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association.

With taxi drivers insisting that passengers pay the toll, the latter are left with no option. Sundarnath N., who returned to the city from Vadodara on Sunday afternoon, was forced by the taxi driver to shell out Rs. 115 toll at the toll plaza.

But the development has not gone down well with passengers also. H.R. Suresh, a taxi driver, admitted that many passengers objected to the demand that they should pay toll. Many of them had a heated exchange with the taxi drivers and the toll authorities over the issue.

Even the taxi drivers have a grouse of their own. Toll for the two-way travel to the airport is collected on the way back to the city, and that has created a strange problem.

Papanna, who represents the Kempegowda International Airport Taxi Owners and Drivers Union, said drivers asked passengers to pay the toll if they are picked up from the airport and dropped in the city and not vice-versa. And in situations when the taxi returns to the city without passengers, drivers have to bear the toll charge.

“After a drop to the airport, we have to now wait in the airport and return to the city only after we are hired by a passenger. But the parking fees at the airport is exorbitant,” he added.

Meanwhile, BMTC has decided not to transfer the burden of the toll fare hike to the commuters.

“With the recent fare hike in BMTC, it will be insensitive on our part to again announce a fare hike,” said Ajum Parwez, Managing Director, BMTC.

Meeting today

Various associations demanding a roll back of toll hike are looking forward to a meeting with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes on Monday at the Vidhana Soudha.

“The Minister has promised to meet all stakeholders and try to resolve the issue. At least, taxis should be allowed to use the toll road on slashed rates,” said Radhakrishna Holla of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association.

G.R. Shanmugappa of the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents Association said he would urge the government to make immediate arrangements for a service road.

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