KATHMANDU, Nov 28: Nepal Meter Taxi Entrepreneur’s Association (NMTEA), an umbrella organization of registered taxi operators, has warned of strike after the government allowed operation of ride-sharing services and also announced that it would bring ride-sharing services under the ambit of the law.
The Ministry of Transport Management has directed Department of Transport Management to make necessary amendments to Motor Vehicles and Transportation Management Act to legalize ride-sharing services.
“Everyone knows that ride-sharing services have affected our business. We have heard that the government is bringing laws to legalize their services. But their operation must be stopped until the law comes into effect,” Arjun Gautam, President of NMTEA, told Republica.
As per Motor Vehicles and Transportation Management Act, 1993, which states that private motor vehicles cannot be used for public transport services, ride-sharing services are illegal in Nepal. Citing the law, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) issued a notice banning the use of private vehicles for public transportation.
“Nobody can go against the law. But in Nepal, people who have access to power can go against law. In the name of using technology, they are cheating customers,” Gautam said, adding: “Every day, police are penalizing 60-70 taxi drivers who are refusing to go on meter. But they are allowing ride-sharing service operators to charge whatever price they want.”
Taxi operators started voicing their dissatisfaction against ride-sharing services after Pathao, a ride-hailing service provider, started taxi service, charging additional Rs 100 on metered fare, couple of months ago.
“We will improve our weakness regarding additional fare charged by taxi drivers. We will also take action against taxi drivers who do not go by meter. This problem can be solved within few months,” Gautam said, adding: “Taxi drivers spend more than Rs 5 million in purchasing taxi and fulfilling other government requirements. But their income has nosedived after ride-sharing operators came into the scene. They are facing difficulty even to pay bank installments.”
Ride-sharing familiarity and convenience has made it easier for common people to use it. Hundreds of individual depend on ride-sharing services for their day to day transportation. It has become a source for income generation for many people.
Earlier in January, police arrested some Tootle and Pathao drivers charging them of providing transportation services in an unauthorized manner. But they were released and allowed to resume operations after Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli intervened in the matter.