The PM promised to find buyers for their vehicles within two months

EV: Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay assured the six e-taxi drivers during a meeting on June 19 that, in another two months, buyers for their e-taxis would be arranged.

The prime minister met the e-taxi drivers, following a petition they submitted on May 26, demanding that the electric vehicle dealer, Thunder Motors, either fully refund their money, or replace the battery so that the cars run 175km on a full charge, as promised.

During an hour-long meeting, lyonchoen also told the e-taxi drivers that a quick charger would soon be installed.

When Kuensel had contacted the e-taxi drivers on Friday afternoon, they denied meeting or hearing anything from the prime minister.  It was later learnt that, by then, they had already met lyonchoen.

“However, lyonchoen told us that we’ll not be able to buy a fuel run car for taxis, since the import of petrol car to be used as taxi is banned,” one of the e-taxi drivers said.

During a question hour session at the National Assembly last month, the information and communications minister DN Dhungyel had said that, except for Thimphu and Phuentsholing, import of new taxis in the rest of the districts was allowed.

“We’d announced about six months ago that those completing nine years would be allowed to import new taxis,” lyonpo had said.

For Thimphu and Phuentsholing, lyonpo had said that, since there were excess taxis, the ministry was studying whether there was a requirement for more taxis in the two thromdes.

Lyonpo had also said that, as of 2013, there were 5,185 vehicles registered as taxis in the country, but a physical verification to confirm the exact number of taxis in business found that there were 3,802 taxis operational.

Bumdeling-Jamkhar representative, Dupthob, had asked the information and communications minister on the government’s decision of not allowing import of vehicles to be used as taxis, despite the prime minister’s commitment to allow import of new taxis as replacement for old ones.

As of 2013, the term of taxis were eight years and it was made to nine years in 2014.   This year, 130 taxis would complete eight years, while a majority would complete nine years by 2019, 2020 and 2021.

“It’s up to the taxi drivers what kind of vehicles they want to buy. The government hasn’t made it mandatory for them to buy electric vehicles,” lyonpo had said.

Nirmala Pokhrel