Howrah station is considered one of the busiest stations in the country. Thousands of people come and go at this station every day. Be it morning or midnight, the crowd of people at the Howrah station premises is an everyday picture, along with the yellow prepaid taxis. Earlier, Prepaid taxi booths were introduced in front of the Old Complex of Howrah station to prevent taxi drivers from overcharging tired passengers after a long train journey.
But later, it was found that in many cases, it is impossible for travellers from other states to recognise the roads when they reach Howrah. On that occasion, if someone wanted to go to the metered taxi, drivers would take him around the world to the destination. But now, the state transportation department has said that prepaid taxi booths are going to be closed. For the convenience of passengers, a new app has been launched for using yellow taxis. The app is named as 'Yatri Sathi,’ and can be used from Howrah station in the coming days.
It is known that railway passengers can use the 'Yatri Sathi' app while sitting in the train or at the station. Like other app taxis, booking here will get you an OTP number. Then show that OTP number to the driver, and only then can you board the taxi.
Currently, this system has been launched at Howrah station, Sealdah station, Kolkata Airport, Santragachi station, and Kolkata station. However, taxi booth staff complain that booking a taxi on this app is not going well at the moment. But they hope that the service will gradually return to normal.
It is known that if a passenger does not have a smartphone, then the booking is done through the tab at the booth, and from there the OTP number is given to the driver and the passengers are taken to the taxi. In addition to traffic officers and constables of Howrah City Police, civic volunteers are helping with this work.
Staff at the booth said that earlier there used to be long queues for taxis during office hours, along with chaos. The police had to be there to control the situation. However, from now on, there will no longer be a long line at the prepaid booth.
While many passengers commented that the prepaid system was good, most said that this system would be convenient for them. The drivers also said that it would benefit them. However, along with this facility, passengers have to face some difficulties. With the introduction of this new service, the passenger fare has increased by an average of 30 to 40 rupees. Many passengers are objecting. But many passengers have easily adopted the new service of taxi booking.
Meanwhile, the extra fare charged by Ola and Uber drivers for parking fees at Howrah station will not be charged to taxis if booked through the 'Yatri Sathi' app. It is expected that both passengers and taxi drivers will gradually benefit from this app.
The transport minister of West Bengal, Snehasis Chakraborty was hopeful that the app cab service by the state would start before Durga Puja this year. The system for the app has been made by the IT department, and it will soon be demonstrated to the state transport department, He said, “there will be a trial period of two to three months for this app. The commission problem will not be there, and they will benefit financially.”