Tourist taxis surpass black-and-yellow cabs in Mumbai
In the past three years, the growth rate of black-and-yellow taxis touched two digits, but tourist taxis witnessed a threefold increase in number.mumbai Updated: Mar 25, 2017 23:16 IST
The number of tourist taxis, which owe their existence to app-based taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber, have rapidly overtaken black-and-yellow taxis in the city by registering threefold growth in less than three years.
Till January 2017, the number of tourist taxis — which need tourist permits to ply — was 55,760, while the number of black-and-yellow taxis was 55,256, according to transport department’s latest data.
Before April 2014, the city had only 13,752 tourist taxis and 43,976 black-and-yellow ones. At that time, the annual growth rate of both was less than 10%.
In the past three years, the growth rate of black-and-yellow taxis touched two digits, but tourist taxis witnessed a threefold increase in number.
Tourist taxis saw unprecedented growth not only in Mumbai, but in the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), due to the growth of Ola and Uber. The number of black-and-yellow taxis went up mainly as transport department released new taxi permits after 18 years.
“The black-and-yellow taxi drivers do not even get long-distance fares since they are confined to the island city, where auto rickshaws are not allowed,” said AL Quadros, veteran taxi union leader.
Though considered a semi-public transport mode, the conventional metered black-and-yellow taxis, which have
been playing on Mumbai roads since 1911, are an essential
part of Mumbai’s transport network.
However, the app-based taxis have made daily commute more comfortable for Mumbaiites and also provided opportunities for drivers to become car owners. In Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the number of tourist taxis touched 1.25 lakh till January 2017 from 61,000 in March 2014, registering a growth of 104% .
According to RTO officials, the number of tourist taxis also include luxury cabs, but only 15-20% of those are used for tourism purposes. However, teh majority are used as Ola and Uber cabs.
A senior official said majority of tourist taxis ply on Mumbai roads but are registered at different RTO offices in MMR. “Including black-and-yellow cabs, the total number of cabs plying in Mumbai could be more than one lakh. The number of app-based taxis plying on Mumbai roads could be double the number of black-and-yellow cabs,” he said.
The practice of tourist taxis being operated as app-based cabs by aggregators has badly affected business of black-and-yellow cabs and that motivated them to demand curbs on the competitors. The state government then brought a new Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017 to regulate app-based cabs and put a cap on surge pricing.