Most taxi users in Kathmandu complain of taxi drivers cheating them on fare. Either these taxies have a tampered meter, or they don’t want to go by the meter. Passengers claim taxi drivers often ask for exorbitant fares. They also complain that taxi drivers decline to go if the destination is close. The taxi drivers’ version, on the other hand, is rarely heard. This week, APEX caught up with 12 taxi drivers on the streets of Kathmandu and asked what they made of the cheating allegations against them.
Ram Sharan Negi, 51
I have been in this occupation for 30 years. I respect the will of passengers. I am okay whether they want to go by the meter or negotiate a price beforehand. But not all taxi drivers are so respecting of the passenger’s wishes.
Kumar Niraula, 40
Actually, taxi drivers don’t cheat but are cheated upon. Salary rises in other jobs, but the taxi fare has remained the same, year after year. We have been compelled to seek a little extra fare.
Sambhu Thami, 30
No one snatches money from the passengers. People ride taxi after negotiating. They can complain to the traffic police in the event of cheating. I go by the meter even if I am at loss.
Kamal Bahadur Dahal, 45
I usually go by the meter. But sometimes passengers reject the meter and negotiate a price. Whatever I earn is inadequate. Only an increase in official fares can solve our problems.
Yalambar Chaudhary, 21
I started driving taxi two years ago. I ask passengers to add a little to on-the-meter fare so that I earn enough to sustain my livelihood. We don’t cheat.
Dil Bahadur Magar, 39
I don’t mind going by the meter but there should be a scientific fare. In other countries, meter rates are fair. Also, the passengers who refuse to go by the meter are also cheats. Why only vilify us?
Arjun Kumar Shrestha, 40
Even if some taxi drivers cheat, cheating is not universal. But you also have to bear in mind that the meter rate hasn’t been revised since 2012. Taxes and maintenance expenses have gone up. I strongly demand an adjustment in fares.
Nima Dorjey Tamang, 29
As a taxi stand or parking space is hard to find, I have to keep driving even without passengers. That takes up petrol. Moreover, online ride bookings have created problems for us. So we have to charge a little extra to survive.
Dhan Bahadur Magar, 36
Passengers try to avoid going by the meter as it keeps running even during traffic jams. On the other hand, petrol prices continue to rise. Taxi drivers like me suffer as a result. And not all passengers are friendly and understanding.
Raj Kumar Tamang, 29
The meter fare is unfair. In other countries, petrol is much cheaper. Whatever we earn is spent on petrol, maintenance, taxes, and our day-to-day survival. So driving a taxi in Kathmandu is not easy.
Kishore Rai, 35
Yes, not all taxi drivers are honest. But I go by the meter unless the passengers ask otherwise. See, I am without passengers today. The meter fare is too low, and not enough for us to survive.
Saroj Lama, 32
The fixed taxi fares are way too old and inadequate. If you don’t own a taxi, you are obliged to ask for a little extra from passengers as you also pay for the rental. More than the passengers, it is the taxi drivers who suffer.