HA NOI – All cabs in the capital must be painted the same colour and be divided regionally by 2015 for the better management of services, according to a Transport Department draft issued yesterday.
According to department Director Nguyen Quoc Hung cab services were currently in disarray and in need of urgent development.
The department calculated that there were 114 cab companies with 17,405 vehicles, excluding about 1,000 unregistered cabs, with 70 per cent operating in the city's 10 inner districts, causing supply to exceed demand.
It was also estimated that the number of taxis would reach 21,000 by 2015 and 26,000 by 2020, an increase of three times over the current 12,000.
Though stating that the excess of cabs was making city traffic worse, the department admitted, "Taxis will remain the best means of city transport in the absence of a proper railway system or metro."
To cope with the problem, the department suggested halting the establishment of new taxi firms and the increase of vehicles while asking those operating in the inner city to pay transport development fees.
Under the draft, newly registered and old cabs would be painted one colour, decided by the department, while after 2015, cabs would be coloured dependent on region.
However, Nguyen Huy Quang, deputy director of the Ha Noi Transport Company, said that it would be expensive for customers to change between regional taxis and that painting cabs twice in one year would be a waste of money.
Ngo Van Thanh, a Thanh Nga cab driver, was equally sceptical saying, "Most of my customers are from the inner city so why the need for services farther out were taxis aren't needed?"
In addition, all cabs must be equipped with detailed meters showing price and distance, with bill forms issued by the Ministry of Finance.
Chief of the Traffic Police Colonel Nguyen Duy Ngoc said, "There should be regular checks on cab driver certificates to ensure their legality."
Ha Noi People's Committee Deputy Chairman Nguyen Van Khoi called on the department to plan parking and drop-off sites for cabs to avoid traffic problems.
He also asked the department to judge the possible influence of the draft and submit more ideas if necessary. – VNS