Gelephu taxi drivers complain of dwindling business

Business: Bhutanese taxi drivers in Gelephu are unhappy with Indian taxis entering Gelephu and doing local business.

Bhutanese taxi drivers claim that the taxi business has decreased drastically compared to past years.

A taxi driver, Rajesh Kafley, from Tsirang, who has been driving a taxi for the last three years in Gelephu, said that they don’t have any issue if the Indian taxi drivers drop the passengers at the taxi stand at Gelephu town. “But when Indian taxi drivers do local business, we are affected,” he said.

He added that the majority of the local taxi drivers depend on the income they generate by driving a taxi.

Another taxi driver, Krishna Kumar Tamang, who has been driving a taxi in Gelephu for the last decade, said the taxi business dwindled and that today, taxi drivers find it hard to earn even Nu 300 a day.

He reasoned that with many people owning their own private cars, there is limited taxi users. “Our business is also hampered by private vehicles carrying passengers and Indian taxis doing local business in Gelephu.”

He said they are concerned about the sustainability of their business and the concerned authority should stop such kind of practices in the country.

Another taxi driver, who chose to remain anonymous, said that they have raised the issue of Indian taxis doing local business in Gelephu.

“When we go and file a complaint, the concerned authority and agencies ask us for the vehicle number and the details of the drivers but we cannot ask for details while they are driving,” he said. “Our complaints are then considered invalid.”

He added that passengers chose Indian taxis because the drivers were charging less.

However, the Road Safety and Transport Authority’s regional transport officer, Kinga Gyeltshen, said the authority did not receive any such complaints till now. “If we receive a complaint, we will respond in accordance to the existing law,” he said.

He also said the authority imposes a fine of Nu 1,500 on private vehicles ferrying passengers.

Yeshey Dema | Gelephu

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