Press Releases : Taxiwallahs will now get etiquette tips

Taxiwallahs will now get etiquette tips
November 16, 2007 6:42 PM

Sandya Nair I TNN

Mumbai: For a passenger, especially a woman, it is often disconcerting when a cabbie adjusts the rear view mirror after she gets into a cab. Or it could be that she gets into a taxi and the cabbie immediately subjects her to loud music. Driving etiquette is a skill which most of Mumbai's cabbies can do with. And now a training academy is here to fulfill this need.

The academy set up at the Tardeo RTO will teach etiquette and driving skills to the 70,000-odd taxi chauffeurs in the city. The lessons will be mandatory and will be imparted when cabbies visit the RTO for the renewal of their licenses. The training is being imparted by instructors of V-Link Taxis, a private fleet management company, which launched 'Meru', the metered call the taxi service in the city.

Ashutosh Atray, vice-president, training and resources, V-Link Taxis, said the idea is to make travel by taxi a pleasant experience and of a standard in keeping with the demands of an international city. "Women often complain of taxi chauffeurs adjusting their rear mirrors after they sit in the vehicle. It sends out wrong signals. We want to teach cabbies to adjust the rear mirror before a passenger gets into the cab," said Atrey.

Cabbies will be trained not only to wear clean uniforms but to stay alert and spruced up; cabbies looking dishevelled or lying down inside the vehicle will be termed a no-no. They will be asked to sport short haircuts and smile politely at all times.

Lessons will also be imparted on how cabbies need to help their passengers in loading and uploading luggage, "They will be told not to force themselves. They will be told not to force themselves. They must help only if required," said Atrey.

Music, too, should be played in the taxi only if the passenger wants it, he says.

The two-and-a-half hour programme will emphasise on training chauffeurs to know their city better. Information about the location of hospitals, malls and railway stations will be provided to them.

Atrey clarified that the exercise was not aimed at reforming taxi chauffeurs, it is just an exercise to polish the rough edges. While some taxi chauffeurs do get into arguments with customers or fleece them, there are many who are known to be courteous.

BACK TO BASICS

  • Adjust the rear mirror before a passenger gets into the cab
  • Help passenger in loading and uploading luggage
  • Short haircut
  • Polite smile
  • No naps

Around 50 to 60 taxi chauffeurs approach each of the three RTOs - Tardeo, Andheri, Worli-daily for renewal of licenses. While the academy will now cater to the chauffeurs registered with the Tardeo RTO, it will be extended to other RTOs as and when space is made available.

The state is also proposing regular health check-ups for taxi chauffeurs. Transport Commissioner S D Shinde, who inaugurated the academy, said there was a need for such check-ups for taxi chauffeurs.