Service: The Department of Air Transport (DAT) with the information and communications ministry will install a new taxi counter at the Paro International Airport’s arrival terminal starting next month.

The decision to have a pre-paid taxi service at the only international airport in the country is based on customer feedback.

DAT director Karma Wangchuk said that the department is constantly trying to improve services at the airport based on customer feedback.

Customers complained that the taxi drivers at the airport overcharge foreign guests.

Karma Wangchuk pointed out that in the current scenario, taxi drivers rush for passengers and it is a hassle.

“One of the main reasons for having a pre-paid taxi service is to streamline the system and for the convenience and safety of passengers,” Karma Wangchuk said. “The rates charged will be approved by the RSTA.”

Interested taxi owners can contact USD Enterprise for registration to operate at the airport.

Karma Wangchuk said that USD Enterprise has been selected through an open tender to operate and manage the taxi counter at the airport.

After July this year, the taxi counter will be updated to an automatic parking fee collection service, established as per the international airport standards.

“We have tendered out the work to construct a parallel taxi way and international cargo terminal at the airport,” he said. “We are trying to increase the facilities at the airport.”

The airport will also start collecting parking fees starting next month.

Karma Wangchuk pointed out that people tend to park their cars wherever and whenever they like and congest the parking spaces at the airport.

The parking fees differ from zone to zone.

Karma Wangchuk said that prime parking areas will be charged higher and people who require the parking space in the prime areas will pay and use the space.

Light vehicles will be charged Nu 100 for thirty minutes or less, for parking in zone one. Similarly, Nu 50 and Nu 20 for using a parking space in zone two and zone three respectively, for thirty minutes or less. The amount doubles for every thirty minutes after the first thirty minutes.

A designated parking space for the crew in zone three is free for crew members, while zone four is designated for airport staff. However, overnight parking is not permitted in zone four.

Similarly, heavy vehicles will be charged Nu 150 for parking in zone one for thirty minutes or less, Nu 100 for parking in zone two and Nu 20 for parking in zone three for thirty minutes or less, whereafter the amount doubles every thirty minutes.

Karma Wangchuk said that there is a free parking space for those who do not wish to pay parking fees. The free parking space is located further away from the terminal but is still walking distance, unlike in other international airports where the distance between the parking space and the terminal is a few kilometres, he added.

People who wish to park their vehicles overnight at the airport can park at zone three. Nu 200 per night will be charged for all types of vehicles.

Karma Wangchuk said that establishing a taxi counter and charging parking fees is expected to ease the traffic flow in Paro.

There are also plans to increase the departure gates to three and increase the parking spaces within the airport. Currently, there is an only one-departure gate at the Paro Airport.

Dechen Tshomo