Shortage of cabs pinches pockets | india | Hindustan Times
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Shortage of cabs pinches pockets

The city is facing a shortage of at least 13,000 taxis and taxi drivers outside hotels and railway stations are charging unreasonable fares because they know they are in demand.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2010 00:46 IST
Shashank Rao

The city is facing a shortage of at least 13,000 taxis and taxi drivers outside hotels and railway stations are charging unreasonable fares because they know they are in demand.

There are only 35,000 taxis plying on Mumbai’s roads although 48,000 taxis have permits. Ten years ago the number of taxis plying was 58,000.

“Since March, the state Transport department and Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) have stopped renewing permits even if the driver brings it a day late,” said Mumbai Taxi Association (MTA), General Secretary, A.L. Quadros.

At least 3,000 taxi permits have been transferred to private fleet taxi services and another 1,000 new fleet cabs are expected to hit the roads.

Taxi drivers want the transport department to renew at least 10,000 permits that have expired because old drivers have retired and migrants willing to drive taxis cannot get permits because they do not have a domicile certificate.

The Taxi Association claimed it cannot find locals willing to work as drivers. Quadros expects the number of taxis to reduce further because no drivers have joined the fleet in three years. The MTA claims to have written to the Transport department asking it to introduce new permits. “I will have to check whether I have received any such letter,” said Transport Secretary C. Sangitrao.

Quadros said the shortage of taxis has led to a black marketing-like situation and passengers are being forced to pay more. The RTOs have received complaints about drivers charging higher fares. “People should stop entertaining these drivers and demand the fare be charged as per meter,” said an RTO official.