Namchi taxi stand redefines what public spaces can become

Gangtok, 14 Sept:

A public space equipped with modern technology is something one usually associates with developed countries in the west. However, such a public facility has become a reality in our very own state. Over the years, the Local Taxi Stand at Namchi, South Sikkim has developed into such a space.

Grabbing headlines with its free WiFi facility, the stand now has a waiting area with entertainment for commuters [television], drinking water facility, CCTV cameras, public announcement system and polite personnel to answer your queries. It is also the first prepaid taxi stand in Sikkim. The stand is also well-maintained and decorated.

The taxi stand is maintained by the Namchi Local Taxi Drivers' Association (NLTDA) while the space has been provided by the government. Although the stand is cleaned daily, members of the association also clean the stand premises every Saturday.

The association also has its own website and computer software application that maintains a record of its 160 members. NLTDA also provides life and medical insurance facility to its members along with regular counselling to all the drivers associated with them.

Speaking to SummitTimes, president of the NLTDA, Arun Rai informs that in case any member is found violating the rules and regulations of the association or indulging in anti-social activities, the association takes strong action like permanently cancelling their membership.

The taxi stand offers prepaid taxi service where the drivers take passengers on first come first serve basis. It does not follow seniority or any other pattern. The drivers are called and informed through the public announcement system installed in the premises.

“We are very strict regarding membership. We open the membership drive for only 10 to 15 days that starts in the last week of March and ends in the first week of April every year,” said the president Arun Rai.

The stand premises are 100% no horn zone and drivers are also urged not to use horn unnecessarily informs the office secretary Tendal Sherpa.

The stand is equipped with 14 functioning CCTV cameras which makes it very safe and secure.

One of the drivers said that they feel very safe to park their car inside this taxi stand because of the security arrangement and other facilities too.

The association has thanked the state government for providing such a good place for the taxi stand and helping local youth earn a livelihood.

The Association is headed by president Arun Rai, vice president Naina Bahadur Manger, general secretary Iman Rai, treasurer Subash Tamang and publicity secretary Dilip Rai.

The association plans to upgrade all the facilities further and provide the best services to tourists, locals and commuters in general