Use of private vehicles as taxis continues unabated

The use of private vehicles for commercial purposes continues unabated in the district, despite the regional transport office’s drive to curb the same. In the latest incident, two private cars that were used for rentals were caught on Wednesday.

It is to be noted that private vehicles are available for rentals at 30% cheaper than commercial taxis. As such, they are more attractive to the price conscious customers.

To bring the violators to book, members of All India Tourist Vehicle Drivers’ Welfare Association on Wednesday posed as people looking to rent cars and booked two vehicles. Once the vehicles arrived, they found that the cars lacked the requisite “t-board” and took the vehicles to the regional transport office (RTO) at Thudiyalur and RTO central.

RTO officials, who had seized 15 private vehicles in December alone after they were used for commercial purposes, said despite the regular seizure, a growing number of private cars were being used for commercial purposes.

“Vehicle owners register on an app and agree to rent their car either with a driver or for self-driving. They offer the vehicles at lower prices. So, taxi drivers and owners, who follow all regulations and register themselves as tourist taxis get affected,” said Krishnamurthy, joint commissioner, RTO.

Private vehicles could afford to price their rentals lower because they don’t have to shell out on higher insurance premiums for third party insurances, getting fitness certificates every year, higher life tax and road tax. “We transfer these additional costs to customers. So, our prices are high,” said R Rangarajan, deputy secretary, All India Tourist Vehicle Drivers’ Welfare Association.

“The private vehicles also needn’t pay permit cost of 350 to enter Kerala and tax of 1,200- 1,500 when driving into Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. When they do not pay these costs, it is a loss of revenue for the government,” he said.