Taxis without meters denied gas by state dealers

Nov 19, 2008 (DVB), State gas dealers in Rangoon have stopped selling compressed natural gas to taxis which have not yet installed meters as instructed by municipal authorities, according to taxi drivers.

A taxi driver in Rangoon said the authorities had ordered all taxis in the city to have meters fitted but few drivers had complied.

Traffic police came under pressure to enforce the law and began cracking down on vehicles without meters, but the taxi driver said the police mostly let the drivers off.

"But starting from Monday, the government gas shops have stopped allowing the taxis that don’t have the meters to enter the shop premises, let alone buy CNG," the driver said.

"Without the meter devices, our vehicles are only good for parking now," he said.

"The devices were being sold for 35,000 kyat each at the China-Burma border but in Rangoon they are selling them to us for 200,000 kyat each."

The taxi driver said that even the taxis which had the meter devices installed still barely used them , instead, they just make a deal with the passenger at the start of the journey.

"If we use those things in our service, we better stay without having food because it doesn’t leave us much profit and all of the money we earn for the whole day will just go to the owners of the vehicles," the driver said.

Most taxi drivers in Rangoon do not own the vehicles the drive, but lease them from their owners.

One Rangoon resident said that passengers were happy without the meters,

"I think most of the passengers prefer the old system where you make a deal with the driver," he said.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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