THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Meera Nair, who arrived at Thiruvananthapuram airport from New Delhi on November 10, took to social media to express her anguish at the fleecing by drivers of prepaid taxis at the airport.
Sharing her ordeal, Meera told Express, “It was past 9pm when I landed at the airport. As I stepped out of the airport, I was surrounded by a group of prepaid taxi drivers who kept insisting on me hiring a taxi. However, I booked a Uber and waited. Although the app showed drivers nearby, it was taking longer than usual and none confirmed a pickup. Meanwhile, I thought of taking an autorickshaw which had come to drop a passenger at the airport. However, a police personnel on duty at the airport shooed the autorickshaw driver away and insisted that I take the prepaid taxi claiming that it was the only option available.”
Meera approached the prepaid taxi counter but was surprised by the exorbitant rate charged. “The prepaid taxi counter staff said it would cost Rs 500 to go to my home at Poojapura, while the price shown on the Uber app was just Rs 78 for the same distance. After waiting for a few minutes, I decided to walk towards the exit to get an autorickshaw. The police personnel kept shouting at me saying the trolley would be allowed only for a short distance. I ignored him and kept walking.
Fortunately, I found an autorickshaw not too far away. I got in and asked the driver why no other vehicles were allowed inside the airport. He said prepaid taxi operators and police officials were hand in glove, backed by bigger forces to ensure that no Uber cab or autorickshaw entered the premises.” It is not just Meera who has faced a similar problem. A techie who landed at the airport and who had to go to Kazhakoottam was also charged an exorbitant rate.
As Meera took to social media to express the inconvenience caused due to the fleecing by prepaid taxi drivers, many other people have also come forward on social media describing their experiences. “This meant that hapless passengers arriving at the airport would have to depend on the prepaid taxis that charge exorbitant amounts,” says Meera. Thiruvananthapuram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) president S N Raghuchandran Nair who is also part of a body focusing on the airport’s development said he has already brought the incident to the attention of a senior official of Adani Trivandrum International Airport Limited (ATIAL).
“The senior official said despite taking over the airport on October 14, they haven’t been able to enforce their authority since the former director is yet to be relieved of his duties. Fleecing by prepaid taxi drivers has been going on for years but it has not been addressed,” he said. “I have also asked the authority concerned to take the police and labour departments into confidence and take legal advice if needed. The police officials should also be directed to allow the ingress and egress of any services that are useful for the passengers.”
Meanwhile, Sudharsanan P, secretary of Airport Taxi Drivers’ and Cleaners’ Association, refuted the allegations of exorbitant rates being charged by cabbies at the airport. “No extra charge is being taken from the passengers and the fare depends on the distance,” said Sudharsanan.
The airport authorities said they have taken note of the incident and are trying to get to the root cause. They added that they will come up with a viable solution. Meanwhile, the regional transport officials said they were unaware of the issue. “Passengers, cab aggregators and auto drivers had earlier raised the issue of airport restricting the entry to Uber and other services. However, fleecing by prepaid taxi drivers hasn’t come to our attention and we are unaware of the recent incident,” the officials said.
- Police personnel force the passengers to avoid auto and take pre-paid taxis
- Auto drivers allege a nexus between the police and taxis
- Police prevent autos from entering the premises of airport
- Complaints pour in regarding exorbitant charges of the taxis