Pick up and drop stands to be readied in 10 days

Road: Thimphu thromde will establish nineteen taxi stands along the expressway between Lungtenzampa and Babesa.

Some 1,104 taxi drivers in the capital met with Chief of Police Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel on Saturday.

Kipchu Namgyel said that pick-and-drop stands for the taxis will be completed by May 20.

During an inspection by traffic police on the Thimphu-Babesa expressway last month, taxi drivers were issued transport infringement notices (TIN) for violating traffic rules, after which, taxi drivers gathered at the parking lot of Changlimithang stadium to discuss the issue.

Kipchu Namgyel said there are no designated pick-and-drop stands along the expressway but there is a proper method of complaining and explaining their grievances.

If there are issues, rather than forming groups and creating scenes, taxi drivers can talk to the Taxi tshogpa and the tshogpa can bring the issues to the officers concerned, said Kipchu Namgyel.  “Everyone has the right to speak out their problems, but there is always a proper way of doing it. No one came to me to discuss the problem.”

Kipchu Namgyel explained the taxi drivers the important role the drivers play in the country and that they should be responsible and set a good example. In a day taxi drivers meet at least 50 people, including tourists. Therefore, it is important for the taxi drivers to set a good example by being responsible.

Once the designated pick-and-drop stands are in place, violation of traffic rules will not be tolerated, said Kipchu Namgyel.

The number of road accidents decreased to 791 last year from 1,094 in 2013. Thimphu alone recorded 602 road accidents last year while 189 road accidents occurred in other dzongkhags.

About 59 percent of road accidents are caused because of reckless driving, followed by 20 percent of drink-driving, 7 percent driving without licence, and 5 percent due to speeding.

Kipchu Namgyel said that it is taxi drivers who are on the road most of the time. With high number of accidents in the capital, there is a need to have strict rules and regulations. Therefore the traffic division of the police has started observing the zero tolerance day every Friday.

The objective is to alert the drivers so that they are more careful and responsible.

One of the reasons why strict checking is being carried out is because of rising cases of drug trafficking in the country. As of May 2, police arrested 1,066 people for drug-related cases. About 22 taxi drivers were found to be involved.

The operation will continue, said Kipchu Namgyel, and when it comes to controlled substances, there is no room for excuse.

Meanwhile, in the past two years, 54 taxi drivers were charged for going against the law.

By Dechen Tshomo