While strongly opposing to the installation of advanced ‘for hire’ indicators, the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, in a letter sent to the transport commissioner on Wednesday, has agreed to put up simple indicators made of acrylic plastic.
As a step towards commuters’ safety, the transport department has proposed the installation of advanced indicators displaying the ‘for hire’ status of the vehicle — engaged or vacant — on the rooftop.
AL Quadros, leader, Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said, “We will not give in to the transport department’s demand.
The indicators costing Rs. 3,000-3,500 will put an extra burden on the poor taxi drivers, who have just spent over Rs.5,500 on the installation of new electronic meters.”
The transport department plans to make the indicators mandatory for taxis, followed by autorickshaws.
The department had asked the taxi unions, passengers, consumer activists and manufactures to send in their suggestion and objections by the end of January.
Consumer activists feel that the department should implement the decision, irrespective of the taxi union’s objections.
“The department should go ahead with the rule, just like they did in case of electronic meters,” said AV Shenoy, consumer activist.
Of the 40,000 taxis plying on city roads, only a few have installed these indicators. The others have an indicator inside the vehicle, which is not visible from a distance.
The transport department has outlined the basic technical specifications for the indicators. Unlike the old indicators, the new one will have an ‘off duty’ option, which will prove effective in curbing cases of refusals, said the transport department.
“The off-duty option will be of great help to the drivers,” said Shenoy.
Transport commissioner VN More said that the taxi unions haven’t approached him.