The option of air-conditioned black-and-yellow taxis is being floated at the state transport department.
The newer models of black and yellow taxis like Maruti Omni, Hyundai Santro, Suzuki Alto and others have in-built air conditioners.
The transport department is contemplating creating a prototype meter that can be changed as per passengers’ needs. The meter will have the facility of showing two different fares, one for travelling with AC and another for regular fare.
This move is being planned to curb the practice of black-and-yellow taxi drivers installing ACs, which is illegal.
One of the smaller groups called Taxi Autorickshaw Welfare Association has also written to the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and state transport department.
“Such a prototype has to be prepared and tested,” said an RTO officer, on condition of anonymity.
Presently, the black-and-yellow taxi drivers charge 25 per cent more than the actual fare when the AC is on — the same fare as Cool Cabs.
This is also being seen as a way to phase out Cool Cabs, whose business is getting affected with the introduction of private fleet taxis.
There are nearly 5,000 Cool Cabs that ferry just three passengers on an average in less than six hours.
A. Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union, said, “Usually Cool Cabs go only long distances and have fixed passengers. The state transport department cannot phase them out as many drivers were asked to buy new model cars.”
Some passengers feel that this might make way for taxi drivers to cheat passengers by tampering meters.
Media professional Prashant Shankar said: “The state should see to it that even commuters are made aware of this system if such a meter is being planned. Drivers are already fleecing people by tampering meters.”