Mumbaiites don’t mind shelling out large amounts for special registration numbers for their vehicles with city Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) issuing 15,000 such numbers last year.
This is about 13% of the 1.13 lakh numbers issued in the state.
In 2008-09, 4,191 special numbers were issued by all three RTOs. However, since April 2012, just the Tardeo RTO office has issued 4,239 such numbers.
The Andheri RTO, last year, issued 7,592 such numbers, the highest in the city, followed by the Tardeo RTO that issued 4,061 numbers and the Wadala RTO where 2,872 such numbers were issued.
It was only in 2007 that the transport department decided to start charging hefty amounts for numbers such as 1, 9, 99, 111, 4,545 and 9,999 among others, after noticing a huge demand for them.
However, the amount charged was hardly a deterrent as people are often willing to pay up to Rs. 3 lakh for a registration number of their choice for vehicles.
“The demand has risen among Mumbaiites over the last few years,” said an RTO official. He added often more than two people ask for the same number making it difficult for RTO officials.
This has prompted the transport department to plan a three- four-fold hike in the fees for these registration numbers, a draft notification for which has already been issued.
The new rates are expected to come into effect in the next few months, following which people will have to pay Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4 lakh as opposed to the present Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 1 lakh.
Other RTO sources added that the demand for special numbers was the highest in western Maharashtra and Thane region.
The transport department had earned Rs58.73 crore in 2012 from fees charged for special numbers, which is the highest till date. Of this, about Rs. 9.3 crore, which was almost 15% of the revenue, was from Mumbai.