Crackdown on illegal, old black-and-yellows | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Crackdown on illegal, old black-and-yellows

Soon you will see fewer old, rickety taxis and more high-end fleet cabs on the city roads.

mumbai Updated: Aug 10, 2010 00:55 IST
Shashank Rao

Soon you will see fewer old, rickety taxis and more high-end fleet cabs on the city roads.

To overhaul the taxi fleet in Mumbai, the state transport department has kicked off a twofold plan — stop taxis whose permits have expired from plying on the roads, and sell 4,000 permits belonging to black-and-yellows, which have not been renewed, to fleet cabs at a cost of Rs 1 lakh each.

The fleet cabs will, in turn be asked to include high-end vehicles costing more than Rs 8 lakh.

On Monday, the transport department assigned 65 officers from Regional Transport Offices (RTOs), in batches of 18, at various locations to catch black-and-yellow taxis without legal permits.

On Day 1 itself, the RTO officials caught 27 taxis — most were more than 25 years old — in which the driver was plying without a permit or he was driving a new taxi using the old vehicle's permit.

After all formalities are complete, the confiscated vehicles will be sent to the scrap yard.

"Our aim is to catch all taxis that are plying without valid permits. We would continue this until all such taxis are off the roads," said Dilip Jadhav, state transport commissioner.

But the Mumbai Taximen's Union objected to the drive and has threatened to move to court.

"I have received complaints from drivers saying their taxis have been seized though the vehicle's model number was of 1998-99 and above. Their [the department's] data is skewed and this drive is a sham. They just want to earn money," alleged A. Quadros, general secretary of the taximen's union.

"These permits belong to black-and-yellow taxis and should be given back to us."

On selling the 4,000 permits to fleet cabs, such as Meru and Cabs, Jadhav said: "Each company will have to bid for minimum 1,000 permits. This is not being done to earn profits. We just intend to use the permits that have remained unutilised for years and provide better taxi models to the public," said Jadhav.

Added a senior transport department official, requesting anonymity: "These permits haven't been renewed for the last 15 years. So either the owner isn't interested or he is no more."

There are 7,000-plus permits that are yet to be renewed and need the government's approval for sale.

According to the transport department, there are 125-odd taxis that are more than 25 years old and plying on the roads without proper permits.

More than 16,000 old taxis have already been scrapped.

Recently, the Cabinet had cleared the proposal that private vehicles more than 15 years and commercial vehicles more than eight years will have to pay green tax. The department expects to earn around Rs 46 lakh from imposing this tax.