Transport: An interesting change is in the offing the way taxis operate in the country. Taxis registered in Thimphu, for instance, can carry passengers to Wangdue but will not be permitted to operate ‘local’ in and around Wangdue.

To implement this change and to ensure that taxi operators abide by the new rule, taxis are required to prominently carry on their flanks the name of the dzongkhag where they are registered. Station name on the Taxis should be in upper case Arial (size 500) in white or in black.

Operators will also be issued Taxi Operating Permit (TOPs), without which they will not be allowed to drive taxi abound. TOP is non-transferable without the approval of Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA).

Karma Pemba, chief transport officer with RSTA, said that the primary purpose of TOP is to identify the taxis and to reduce misbehaviours of taxi drivers.

RSTA said that this measure is being adopted to reduce the growing number of taxis.

Karma Pemba said there are currently 3,941 taxis in the country. Thimphu and Phuentsholing have the largest number of taxis, 2,666 and 1,033 respectively.

However, taxi operator Dawa Penjor, 50, said that this new RSTA rule is making operation difficult and expensive. Writing station name on both sides of the taxi costs Nu 600 and the operators have to spend additional Nu 150 for TOP. He added that once the taxi life is over, converting it back to private vehicle will cost no less than Nu 36,000.

Civil servants driving taxi will not be issued TOP after their taxi life is over.

This new rule for the taxis will come into effect after the completion of the sensitization period.

Jigme Tenzin