The Bhutan Taxi Association (BTA), in collaboration with traffic police, is providing free rides to and from Kuenselphodrang for devotees attending the Kanjur oral transmission.

The initiative, which started on August 7 for three days, is expected to extend.

Chairman of BTA, Rinzin Chophel, said that the cabbies do not receive teachings and blessings because of their work and providing such service to people is expected to earn them some merits. “We want to help people who are receiving teachings for three months.”

He said that cabbies start their service at 3:30am until 6:00 am and from 5:30pm to 8:00 pm.

Rinzin Chophel explained that in the first batch, 25 taxi drivers have volunteered to provide the service for three days. “There are 13 taxies who have volunteered for the next batch.”

He said that if the plan goes well, the association intends to provide the service throughout the Kanjur oral transmission.

BTA and traffic police identified seven points to pick up the devotees. It’s in Dechencholing, Jigme Namgyel School, city bus parking, Changzamtok, Babesa Changangkha and Changjiji.

Rinzin Chophel said that on the first day, devotees were dropped to their houses and it took a long time as every passenger had different destinations. “From yesterday, we decided to drop then to the city bus parking.”

A taxi driver, Sonam Dendup, said he volunteered because it would only take about half an hour to pick up and drop passengers. “Such initiatives will help people who have financial constraints.”

He said that he wants to volunteer for about two weeks.

The association chairman said that they do not limit the number of trips cabbies could make. Taxis providing free services will be identified through stickers of zero fare public transport pasted in front of the taxi.

Meanwhile, a devotee attending the Kanjur transmission, Tashi Tshomo, 68, said she availed the service yesterday morning. “When I gave the fare, the taxi driver said it was for free,” she said. “It is helpful since I did not want to disturb my relatives early in the morning to drop me.”

Rinchen Zangmo