Michaelangelo on being praised for his sculpture “Pieta” is said to have replied “The sculpture was already there, all I did was to chip away the useless bits”. Ms Angela Robinson's letter on the subject of Taxi Service in DS, 05 Sep 10 prompted me to write this letter which I had been mulling over for a long time. The taxis are already here, all we have to do is organize them productively. The facts are these:
1. Some thousands of metered, A/C & non A/C taxis were introduced some years ago in Dhaka, with telecom facilities. Most of these are already in the junkyard and the survivors are avoided like the plague especially after dusk. The meters, A/Cs, seats, bodies and engines are in pitiable state.
2. Replacements are not contemplated, so that makes Dhaka the only major city without taxi or mass transit systems for the general (I,e. be-kar) public
3. There is no shortage of private motor vehicles for the privileged few whose Gas Guzzling Monstrosities (GGMs) continue to cause gridlocks by hogging 70-75% of scarce road space while carrying 3-5% of passengers.
So how can we bring about 10,000 metered taxis of all sorts on the roads for the public without further imports to clog our roads and without disturbing the big-shots who cannot move without their luxury vehicles. The answer is really simple, as is the solution of the traffic jams blue printed in my preceding 76 letters over the last 3 years!!!! This will involve some tough administrative/financial decisions.
1. Total ban on import of all private vehicles for 2010-2012 for everyone.
2. No purchase of cars on loan/subsidized facility from any source.
3. No private car to run on CNG.
4. No parking or horn blowing on all public roads to be opened to MVs and NMVs.
5. An independent body to list out the private vehicles of each individual. No one should be allowed to possess more than one car per family. (I have heard of one family of three having 18 cars 'rusting' in their garages, looked after by only 6 drivers, most of whom play cards the whole day).
6. All cars to be regularized as per respective Income Tax Returns, Wealth statements, duty paid chalans, tax tokens and fitness certificates, etc.
Owners who cannot even think of being without their 'pet' cars can make arrangements with LTL to have their own BMWs, Prados, Patrols, M-Bs etc on call whenever required (for a price of course). They can have their cake and eat it too. They will find it much cheaper in the long run without the headache of maintenance, drivers' shenanigans, long refuelling lines, renewals etc.