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ISLAMABAD: Two taxi companies were closed down during a raid on their offices on Thursday and the offices of two others were found closed after show cause notices were issued to them in response to complaints lodges against them by the local Taxi Driver Welfare Association (TDWA).

According to officials of the local administration, a team that included assistant commissioner Saddar and Secretary Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA), raided the offices of two cab companies in the G-8 and F-11 markazes and sealed them as they were running illegally. The team found the offices of two other cab companies in the I-8 markaz and Bahria Town closed.

“These cab companies were operating in the city without approval or a permit,” an official said.

A TDWA office bearer had approached the deputy commissioner Islamabad and Secretary ITA earlier and lodged a complaint regarding the large number of unregistered vehicles being used as taxis for some time in the capital and that such practices affected the business of registered taxi drivers.

There are 22,000 registered taxis in the capital, the owners and drivers of which pay taxes in five different categories to the government including for fitness, conversion tax, permit and tokens, the complainant had said.

However, some companies are using unregistered vehicles as taxis and are providing pick and drop services in the city, the complainant had said, and that such practices cause losses to the exchequer as they are not paying the taxes payable on the commercial use of vehicles.

Therefore, notices were issued to Careem Networks (Pvt) Ltd, Derbi Cab, Crown Cab and Citi Cab.

“It has come to the notice of the undersigned that you operate an illegal cab service in Islamabad. You are hereby directed to explain your position within three days from receipt of this communication. Otherwise, strict legal action shall be taken against you,” the notices read.

The owners and managers of these companies did not reply in the stipulated time, the officials said, and that a raid was then conducted during which the offices of two companies were sealed and the offices of the other two were found to have been already closed.

When asked, the TWDA president told Dawn that some of the rent-a-car businesses were illegal and that people just establish their own cab companies. He said these companies use private cars in their businesses and provide services after a phone call is made.

These four companies had 1,300 vehicles providing cab services in the city, he added.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2016