GMR milks radio Cabs
Hyderabad: GMR airport authorities are minting money by way of parking fees collected from cabs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.
Enquiries by Deccan Chronicle revealed that GMR is earning about Rs 15 crore per year from parking charges and from its agreement of allowing Meru and Sky Cabs to operate from the airport.
Meru and Sky Cabs together make a minimum of 1,500 trips every day from the airport to various parts of the city and to the districts. For each trip, the cabs pay Rs 176 towards bidding value — i.e, to operate the cabs from the airport — and another Rs 50 per trip towards parking charges to GMR.
That’s Rs 3.39 lakh daily – Rs 12.20 crore per year. Meru and Sky Cabs had won the contract to operate its cabs from the airport in January 2016; the contract is valid up to January 2020.
GMR also gets revenue from other cabs, like pre-paid taxies, SHE cabs and other taxis. Meanwhile, Ola and Uber cabs are not allowed to pick up passengers from the airport until they pay a parking fee to GMR of Rs 130 per trip. Ola and Uber cabs are allowed to drop passengers for free.
Meanwhile, the managements of Meru and Sky Cabs are paid between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per day by the drivers for assured business at the airport.
However, the drivers believe that the managements of Meru and Sky cabs have a share in the sum of Rs 226, which is paid daily to the GMR.
Managements of Meru and Sky Cab, said they were not authorised to disclose the contract details. GMR authorities too haven’t given any details though they promised to divulge the information after going through the formalities.
Drivers who make five or more trips per day to the airport earn over Rs 1,000 per day after deducting the Rs 226 per trip (to GMR) and Rs 1,500 to the cab managements. “This is why fares of Meru and Sky Cabs are higher compared to that of pre-paid and SHE cabs or Ola and Uber,” a senior driver-cum-owner said.
“If this fee (paid to GMR and cab managements) is brought down, we can save a little more,” said a cab driver.
Meru and Sky Cabs drivers rue that they have to pay Rs 226 per trip compared to only Rs 130 per trip for Ola and Uber cabs who do not have a tie up with GMR.
“GMR personnel near ‘departures’ and ‘arrivals’ will not allow a cab to the pick-up point unless it goes through the parking lot and pays the fee of Rs 130. The moment they sees a cab without a passenger, it is diverted through parking,” said a cab driver linked to Ola and Uber.
The government controlled SHE cabs and pre-paid taxis pay Rs 60 as parking fee for every trip to the airport. “Ultimately everything is passed on to the passenger who ends up paying more. The parking fee is Rs 600 for 24 hours for commercial vehicles. The state government has given the land for the airport and should look into the issue seriously,” suggested another cab driver.
What we asked
Q Is the parking place provided by GMR airport the biggest in the airports in the country?
Q What is the space allocated to parking?
Q How many cars and other vehicles can be parked at the airport?
Q What is the revenue from parking at the airport per day, per month or per year on average, whatever is most convenient to provide?
Q Why are cabs charged so heavily? For example. each Meru and Sky Cabs taxi has to pay Rs 220 for every trip for parking.
Q Other cabs not attached to GHIAL or not having a contract with GHIAL have to pay Rs130 per trip for parking if they want to pick up a passenger from airport
Q SHE cabs and pre-paid taxis have to pay Rs 60 as parking fee per trip. What is the contract amount for which Meru and Sky Cabs are allowed to operate from the airport? What is the tender bidding or annual contract value? How much do they pay GMR?
Q Why is GMR collecting such high parking fee from cabs, which is ultimately being passed on to the passengers?
GHIAL replies after 48hrs
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) offers convenient parking facilities for vehicles and has adequate capacity to cater to vehicles in its different zones. This is well accessible to both arriving and departing passengers with proper directional signages depicting the parking zones. The quality parking service and efficient integrated parking automation system is implemented for the quick entry and quick exit from parking.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL) has tied up with 2 radio cab operators — Meru Cabs and Sky Cabs — to provide safe and convenient travel options for passengers. This is in line with the practice followed at other airports.
The Radio Cabs at RGIA operate on (a) GO issued by the Government of Telangana. The drivers have complete police verifications done. These vehicles are equipped with various safety features for passengers, some of them being: GPS tracking; speed governors to check on overspeeding; every car has the picture and driver’s details which are prominently displayed for passengers’ information; Meru Cabs have an app with inbuilt safety features to address any emergency.
Even though the drivers who operate the radio taxis belong to Meru and Sky Cabs; we have taken several proactive initiatives for their betterment.
GHIAL organises structured annual training programmes for cab drivers. These programmes focus on making drivers aware about: safety; etiquette; knowledge of the city; behavioural and customer care, among others. This training is imparted (in) a highly professional manner with internal trainers using various interactive media. Every year more than 1,000 drivers get benefited by these programmes (sic).
In order to encourage a culture of quality service to customers we have a rewards & recognition programme wherein as an airport operator we select the best 10 drivers each from Meru and Sky on various parameters.
Committed towards women safety, comfort and women empowerment, GHIAL has actively partnered in the ongoing initiative of Government of Telangana for empowerment of women and safety of women passengers by introducing SHE Cab facility for them at the airport. This also focuses (on) women empowerment as cabs are driven by women drivers.
Airport also organised awareness programmes like ‘Airport Darshan’ for cab drivers. Through this, the drivers are sensitised about the various facilities at the airport.
Action possible only if complaint is given
The Telangana State Tran-sport department said that it has not received any complaint about cab drivers being fleeced at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.
Officials are, however, willing to take up the issue with the GMR airport authorities in the interest of passengers who end up paying higher taxi fares. “We will see what can be done. When passengers are affected, the state government definitely take corrective steps. We can write a letter to the GMR airport authorities and the civil aviation ministry,” said Mr Sudhakar Reddy, officer on special duty to transport minister P. Mahender Reddy.
N. Srikar, an IT employee, said when the government has given thousands of acres of land to the GMR Group to set up the international airport, it should take up the responsibility of ensuing that people are not fleeced in the name of parking at the airport.