Proposal sent to higher authorities, says Director
The absence of a regulated taxi service at the airport here remains a major irritant for passengers arriving here.
Although the airport has witnessed major developments over the past two decades in terms of infrastructure, passenger and air traffic, it lacks a regulated taxi service.
Consequently, there were complaints of fleecing by unscrupulous taxi drivers. In a city known for exorbitant autorickshaw and taxi fare, absence of a pre-paid or regulated taxi service is felt badly, say travel industry representatives.
Proposals to introduce a pre-paid taxi service mooted years ago have not taken off. A proposal to introduce such a service was initiated in 2012 and Transport department officials held talks with taxi drivers and operators but the move was mired in procedural wrangles over fixing fares and other issues.
Subsequently, airport authorities urged the police to run the service and sent a request to the city police suggesting that 10% of the revenue generated from the service can be utilised by them. The police said they had taken up the matter with higher authorities in Chennai for approval but nothing came out of it as the State police was already stretched.
According to M. Sekaran, member, Airport Advisory Committee, the issue was discussed at a meeting of the committee some time back and airport officials wanted the State police to man the service.
However, police officials expressed their inability to spare their personnel, he said.
While conceding that there was a need for a regulated taxi service at the airport, Mr. Sekaran suggested that Airports Authority of India identify a suitable voluntary organisation or self-help group to run the service.
Alternatively, a cab service provider could be identified to operate the service on the lines of a system adopted by railways at the Tiruchi Junction.
At present, drivers of cab services avoid coming inside the airport to pick up passengers as they have to pay an entry fee of ₹60. While taxis and private vehicles are allowed to enter the airport premises to drop passengers without fee, levy of fee for picking up passengers is unjustified, said a driver of a cab service who did not want to be identified.
“Passengers use our service for our competitive fare. It defeats the very purpose if we ask our customers to pay the additional fee for entry. Only a few customers agree. Alternatively, we ask passengers to come to the exit gate from where we pick them up. But passengers with baggage find it difficult to walk down till the highway to board our vehicles,” he said.
When contacted, Airport Director K.Gunasekaran said AAI was planning to rope in a cab aggregator and a proposal has been sent to higher authorities.
“Once the approval is obtained, we will call for tenders to award the contract,” he said.
Pointing out that vehicles entering the airport to drop passengers were allowed to remain inside the premises for just a few minutes, Mr. Sekaran appealed to AAI to increase the duration as it took substantial time to negotiate traffic inside the airport campus.
“Besides, there should be standard and scientific way of recording the entry time. Often, there is a variation in the time recorded by the contractor and the actual time at which one entered the airport,” he said.