But the laws of demand and supply have already forced fares down

Fares: Despite a recent study finding that existing taxi and bus fares need to be decreased due to fuel price fluctuations in the past 16 months, there will be no revision.

A recent assessment by the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) found that the existing bus fare should be decreased by at least three percent and by Nu 1-3 for taxis.

The assessment was carried out following fuel price fluctuations in the last 16 months, a press release from the RSTA stated.

However, considering the increase in other operation costs, it was decided that the fare be kept as it is without a revision.

“As the fuel price keeps fluctuating frequently, assessment of fare rates will henceforth be considered only if there is a rise or fall of more than 5 percent in overall operating costs,” the press release stated.

Such notices by the RSTA do not seem to have any significant influence on cabbies who have already reduced rates themselves given intense competition.

Cabbie Gyembo Dorji, 45, said it was not about raising or cutting the fare but about private vehicles (bolero campers) ferrying passengers at marginally low rates. He added that the RSTA must step in and act on this practise.

“We often carry passengers between two dzongkhags at half fare,” he said. “If I deny carrying passengers at their said rate, they get plenty of other cabs.”

Another cabbie, Pema, said increased number of vehicles both private and public transport services has forced them to carry passengers at discounted fares.

Pema added that although the taxi fare between Thimphu and Phuntsholing according to RSTA’s fare chart is about Nu 650, he usually carried passengers for Nu 300.

“It is often difficult to meet operation cost,” he said.

There were 4,109 taxis in the country as of December last year.

By Nirmala Pokhrel