An article in today’s The Times of India – Cool cab overcharges ex-top cop (link unavailable) – reports that a cab driver who refused to carry an ex top cop at the fare he was willing to pay was fined and will probably have his license suspended for a month.
“Ribeiro (an ex top cop) argued with the driver that the fare could not exceed Rs 200 (the driver wanted Rs 350) but the driver refused. Ribeiro then took a non-AC taxi and got to his residence and the fare came to Rs 150. Later, the officer complained to the transport commissioner and gave him the taxi number. Following Ribeiro’s complaint, the traffic police fined Singh (the driver) Rs 200.”

” … While Singh is likely to have his licence suspended for a month, action will also be taken on the vehicle owner. “

“…A L Quadros, the general secretary of the Mumbai Taximen Union to which Singh belongs, admitted that the driver had made a mistake and that they were also considering some action against him.”

Some moral questions:

Why does a driver require a license to operate a cab? Why is it obligatory for a cab driver to carry a passenger against his judgement? How does the government acquire the right to decide legal fares (in the form of mandatory meters)?

Some practical questions:

Would the same action have been taken if the passenger did not have acquaintances in the ‘authorities’? Aren’t unions supposed to protect the interests of their members?

So much for the socialist claim that the license-raj and price controls protect the interests of the poor from “exploitation” by the rich.


4 Responses

  1. While I agree that the requirement of having a license to operate a cab is inappropriate, in a free society there might be very good reason for a cab company to have rules such as these for its drivers.

  2. Yes, cab companies will have their own rules. But there is a big difference between the rules of a private company and the rules of the government. A driver who does not like the rules of a company can always choose to join another company or run by himself. He can’t do that here.

  3. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Twiner!

  4. Twiner,
    It is common to hear people in India complaining about cab drivers overcharging as if they have a right to transportation at a fare they want to pay, irrespective of whether anyone wants to provide it. Although I didn’t say it explicitly, I wanted to show that any implementation of such “rights” can only lead to injustice and corruption.

    By the way, sorry for the delay in posting your comment. It got marked as spam by the wordpress software.

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