The city can bid goodbye to uncomfortable rides in rickety taxis and autorickshaws, with around 9,000 of them being phased out in the last six months alone. There will, however, be no shortage of taxis and autos available to Mumbaiites, RTO officials have assured, because permit holders have already started replacing the scrapped vehicles with new ones.
Permit holders have been given up to six months from the day the old vehicles were scrapped to buy new ones.
From April 2013, around 6,300 old autos and more than 2,400 rickety taxis have been scrapped in the suburbs and the island city in phases.
The city’s regional transport offices (RTO) started seeing a huge rise in the number of old vehicles being scrapped after the state government’s directive on phasing out 16-year-old autos and 20-year-old taxis came into effect on August 1, 2013. The directive resulted in the scrapping of all taxis and autos that came on to the roads before 1993 and 1997, respectively.
“Before August 1, around 200 taxis used to be scrapped every month, the number rose to 300 every month. We are expecting the numbers to increase over the next year,” said an official from the Tardeo RTO.
The Wadala RTO has scrapped 556 taxis and 260 autos in August and September, respectively, while the Andheri RTO scrapped 462 autos in August.
“New autos and taxis will definitely improve the quality of service. But, instead of just replacing old vehicles, the government should add new autos and taxis to ensure there is no shortage,” said Vidyadhar Date, author of Traffic in an Era of Climate Change.
“It is good that the government is phasing out old vehicles, but they should ensure there is no shortage. They should expedite the process of renewing dead permits,” said Shirish Deshpande, chairperson, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.