Waiting for a taxi will no more be a problem for Mumbaiites.
The State Transport Authority (STA) on Thursday approved of a proposal to set up a call centre for black-and-yellow taxis.
A private firm, Ansh Synergies, has been selected for the purpose. “We will convert the taxis into radio taxis within two months,” said Avinash Nimonkar, co-founder of Ansh Synergies.
As per the process, anyone can call for a taxi that will be available within half an hour. The taxis will have a global positioning system and telephone to interact with the call centre.
A day after the government came up with a decision to issue new taxi permits, one of the conditions imposed is that such taxis set up call centres to facilitate passenger convenience.
The approximate cost of the project that will upgrade the taxi services is Rs 100 crore, without any hike in taxi fare.
Ansh Synergies will be given advertising rights, which will allow advertising on three sides of the taxi.
Sources in the Taxi Union said the government has promised advertisements on taxis only if they change the taxi’s colour and set up a call centre. The Taxi Union has proposed lemon yellow as the replacement colour.
Sources in the Transport Department said initially south Mumbai will be ideal for them to launch the pilot project.
The call centre will be set up at an approximate cost of Rs 5 crore, though the location and other details haven’t been decided. “This process will be useful for Mumbaiites,” said A.L. Quadros, general secretary of the Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
Meanwhile, the autorickshaw union has also put up its demands like a hike in fare, which according to its members, has not changed over the last five years. The union has also sought that advertisements be allowed on autorickshaws.