EDITORIAL | Transportation dilemma in Meghalaya: The silent Rapido's exorbitant fares



No taxis! Well, that’s okay. At least the roads would be less congested for a day or two, but beyond that, the same people will start complaining once they realise that moving from one place to another without public transportation will burn a hole in their pockets. (This applies to people who don’t own a private car).

Perhaps it is no big deal for commercial vehicles to be off the streets, but one has to remember that not all people own a car, motorcycle or scooter.

Who are the ones suffering?

The answer is obvious. The common people, especially farmers who have to travel to Shillong (Iewduh–Meghalaya’s largest traditional market) to sell their produce.

Time and time again, we have seen that even with the availability of public transportation; it is a burden for farmers to get from point A to point B.

So no, it is not a breath of fresh air for them.

The indefinite strike called by the Meghalaya Joint Action Committee of Commercial Vehicles (MJACCV) over the recent hike in fuel prices has indeed become problematic for most people.

Take note that this does not make things difficult for the rural populace, it also affects the people in urban areas.

Let us talk hyperlocal, and by that I mean the problems faced by the common people in Shillong because of the absence of taxis.

Yes, it is a fact that before the strike, commuters complained of exorbitant fares charged by taxi drivers and an alternative solution came into the picture as Rapido - an online bike taxi aggregator and logistics service provider.

The ongoing strike of local cabbies, which began on February 3, seems to be a blessing for others and by others, I mean Rapido riders aka Rapido Captains.

It is only natural to take advantage of the ongoing situation, but to exceed the limit at the expense of others is unacceptable.

Complaints have poured in from customers who frequently avail the services provided by Rapido.

According to them, the Rapido captains are charging the customers more than the price specified in the app.

A noticeably disgruntled client had stated that the amount displayed on the app (say Rs 39) for a 15-minute journey did not tally with the amount charged by the captains, which, in this case, was Rs 60.

And knowing very well that customers usually have no other option but to book a ride, the discretion lies with the rider to decide on the transportation fare.

Several accounts shared similar stories that the Rapido Captain would first ask them the price displayed on the app and would refuse service if the customer did not agree to pay extra.

In several cases, the captains would ask the customer to cancel the ride and the customer would have to pay a cancellation fee.

According to the company’s rule, the operation shouldn’t be carried out according to the whim and fancy of the captains.

The manager of the company/agency should take serious note of all these lapses and take immediate action against those responsible for preying on the misfortune of others.

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Overcharging by Rapido captains is just one problem. In rural areas, the ones overcharging the customers/passengers are private vehicles.

It is difficult to track them down or issue a complaint because right now, what people need is something to get them from one location to another, no matter the cost.

In the end, people will turn to the government to resolve this stand-off with the taxi drivers at the earliest to lessen the burden on the common people.