A Taxi Operating Permit was also introduced besides designating colours to differentiate the licence holders  

RSTA: Starting today, driving licences for the public, taxi drivers and commercial drivers will be differentiated by their colours.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) launched three types of driving licenses and Taxi Operating Permit (TOP) at the information and communication ministry’s conference hall in Thimphu yesterday.

White will be the colour for licenses issued to the public while green is reserved for taxi drivers and blue for commercial drivers such as heavy vehicle and public transport service drivers.

Information and communications minister DN Dhungyel said the colour coded licences and TOP are introduced for the convenience of taxi drivers, public and authorities concerned.

RSTA’s director general Lham Dorji said the new licenses are expected to be 10 times more durable than the existing ones and also have five security features, which make it distinct from the old licences. Any licences printed illegally can also be differentiated now.

The licences will have a nano and hidden text that can be viewed with microscopic lens when enlarged at 2000 percent and with laser respectively.

The logos of the 60th birth anniversary celebrations and RSTA at the background are imaged on second plane giving 3D depth. The new licences will also have flip images and UV features. The other side of the licence has five images of the eight lucky sign with UV enabled feature.

Lham Dorji said that changing all the old licences to new ones require budget, which the RSTA doesn’t have currently. The authority will start issuing these only to new licence holders and those who come to renew their licences.

“However, if we feel that there is a need to change all the old licences to new ones, then we will see what we can do and we may change it,” he said.

But should the old driving licence holders wish to avail the new licence, they can still get it printed by paying Nu 200. Printing facilities are available in all RSTA regional offices and will soon be expanded to all 17 base offices.

The TOP will have information about taxi operators and validity. It will be issued to only those taxi drivers who meet the RSTA’s criteria for taxi drivers. “Many people have taxi driving license but not all drive taxis,” he said.

All existing taxi license holders can drive taxi until the expiry of their taxi life but cannot renew it. However, their licences will remain valid and those who wish to drive taxis after their retirement from the civil service or corporations can obtain, Lham Dorji said.  A TOP is a must when purchasing a taxi.

The new driving licenses and TOP were also launched simultaneously in other RSTA regional offices in Phuentsholing, Gelephu, Mongar and Samdrupjongkhar.

Dechen Tshomo