Taxis and Tourists: Mumbai

Cabbies rob Nigerian outside Sahar terminal  

TIMES NEWS NETWORK  Mumbai: Two taxi drivers were arrested on Thursday, hours after they robbed a Nigerian traveller outside Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Also, the Sahar police have formed a special squad to deal with harassment by touts and cabbies.
   The accused, Abdul Kalam Khan (22) and Naseeruddin Khan (22), were both from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh. The police will interrogate them for information on their associates and track record.
   Nigerian national Owalabi Femi landed here around 5.30 am on Thursday by Ethiopian Airlines. This was his first visit to Mumbai and he had planned to fly to Delhi to visit his son-in-law’s place.
   Femi stepped out of the airport to take a cab to the Santa Cruz terminal. At this point, the two accused approached him and bundled him into a cab. They snatched his mobile, US$ 125 and Rs 3,000 before dumping him midway.
   “After Femi lodged a complaint, we sent our teams to find the two drivers. They were nabbed from Sahar with the cash and items. We have also seized the taxi,’’ said senior inspector Dilip Patil.
   The Sahar police’s special squad will comprise five policemen. “We will be particularly strict on cab drivers who harass passengers,’’ said zonal deputy commissioner of police R N Tadvi.
   Officials said the pre-paid system has helped keep a check on touts. The police note down the taxi’s number and the passenger’s name before it leaves. The passenger also pays in advance. “The squad will ensure that people use the pre-paid taxis. Action will be taken against those charging excess fares,’’ said Tadvi.
   One of the five tourist mobile vehicles has been handed over to the Sahar police to monitor the airport.

Taxing times

Many fliers who have hired taxis from the domestic airport told TOI they had been duped by unscrupulous cabbies.
   “I hired a taxi for Parel and the driver charged me Rs 500. When I asked him to show the rate card, the cabbie said he was charging me Rs 150 extra for the luggage,’’ said Avinash Chauhan, a resident of Parel.
   Passengers complain that in the absence of the police and road transport officials monitoring the situation, cabbies and touts catch hold of gullible passengers.
   “The drivers promise passengers that they will go by the meter reading, but the meter itself is tampered,’’ said Sibi Sathyan, who was charged Rs 950 for a journey from the airport to Sanpada. “The driver showed me the night card and duped me,’’ he said. The he went to the airport chowky next day to lodge a complaint. The driver was arrested. TNN

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