The ubiquitous 'black and yellow' taxis in India's financial hub are set to be replaced with newer "Maruti Suzuki Omni' cars, with the first 200 such cabs scheduled to ply on city roads by the month-end.
Following Maharashtra government's decision to phase out old taxi models, the Taximen's Union has decided to replace 200 Premier Padmini taxis with the Omnis initially.
"We have placed an order of 200 Maruti Suzuki Omnis to the company and expect the delivery by the month-end," Taximen's Union leader AL Quadros told PTI.
When asked why Omni model was chosen, Quadros said it is a low cost and low maintenance vehicle and it also has a large lauggage space which other modern cars lack.
"The company is also giving us some discount on the purchase of 200 cars. As a result, a car will cost Rs 1.89 lakh instead of Rs 2.35 lakh," he said.
The decision to phase out taxis over 25 years was taken in August and December three is the deadline given by the Government.
There are currently 55,000 taxis running in the city.
The Premier Padmini model was the first Indian-made taxi hit the roads in 1960s and became very popular. Even after the company's closure in 2000, the taxis continued to run in the city.
The Union has requested Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to extend by a year the deadline for phasing out old taxis with new Omni cars. "We also want some rebate in sales tax from the Government," Quadros said.