Cabbies want fare to be revised after hike in fuel prices

However, RSTA says the fare was only revised in February this year

With the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices affecting taxi drivers, cabbies in Thimphu say that it is a big loss for them to operate at the same rates, which they have been doing so before the increase in fuel prices.

They added their situation will improve if the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) could revise the fare according to the hike in fuel prices.

A cabbie in Thimphu said that the increase in fuel prices was eroding the earnings of people who make a living by transporting people or things.

“This is happening against the backdrop of the Covid crisis, when earnings have already become low,” he said.

While the increase in fare will undoubtedly burn a hole in the average person’s pockets, another cabbie said, “We are concerned too. Those who must pay for fuel, like us, on a daily basis are most affected.”

Meanwhile, the RSTA has not revised the taxi transportation fare because of the inflation in fuel prices. While individuals who use taxis on a daily basis have been pleased that the rates have remained relatively unchanged, taxi drivers have been less so.

According to another taxi driver, taxi drivers had a lot of issues during the past few months.

“We were struggling to make money even to feed our families. When the unlock phase began, we were able to do some small businesses. However, the rise in fuel prices has created problems for us again,” he said.

According to one of the taxi drivers, the RSTA revised the transportation fare in February this year and increased a certain percentage. For instance, the city bus fare was Nu 50 per person till Dechencholing and it was increased by Nu 5 from February.

“Similarly, taxi fare was also increased but due to inflation in fuel prices recently, it is still hard to cover the fuel expenses only and forget about the profit,” he said.

And while the RSTA received a few appeals from taxi drivers and bus drivers to increase the transportation fare, an official from the RSTA said they are unable to do so because the fare was only revised in February this year.

“The next bi-annual revision is scheduled for August this year. So if anything needs to be revised or implemented, it will be done at that time,” the official said.  

According to the official, the fluctuation in fuel prices is irregular and if they keep altering the fare in response to it, it will further create an administrative load, which is not a wise plan.

“It is not possible to revise the fare every time the prices of fuel change,” he added.

Meanwhile, the RSTA conducts a revision of transportation fare twice a year, and they only revise the fare if the cumulative average exceeds the buffer range.

Further, the RSTA is also in charge of monitoring the public transportation fare to make sure that there are no exorbitant fare increases.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu