Tourists visiting Shimla, Kullu-Manali and other hill resorts of Himachal in June may have to spend some extra money on transportation facilities as taxi unions have decided to increase taxi charges up to 30 percent following hike in petrol prices.
“Our taxi operators are facing problems continuing with last year’s fares and they are asking for slight increase to cover their expenses,” Him-anchal taxi operators’ union president Puran Chand said. He added that they had decided not to increase fares if fuel prices were increased only Rs 2-3 but an increase of Rs 7.50 is unbearable. “We are soon going to have a meeting with local SDM and would apply for an increase of 20 to 30 percent in existing prices.”
Current charge for a full day tour to Rohtang pass by a basic car is Rs 1,700 which could become Rs 2,100 next month. Similarly, the charges would be increased for local and long routes. Leh-Ladakh jeep safari tours are going to begin soon. The basic cost of Rs 17,000 for 2 day-long Manali-Leh tour is expected to increase to Rs 21,000 this year.
A taxi driver, Rakesh Sharma, said that mileage of the cars reduces to almost half in the congested roads full of potholes and drivers are not able to save according to their hard work. He adds, “Petrol prices have been increased many times but we are offering our services at the old rates. Now, keeping in view the fuel price and geography of hilly roads, the taxi fare is needed to be increased.”