The state transport department wants to ensure that Mumbai’s taxis keep up with the swank, new modes of transport like the Metro and the monorail.
The government is considering reducing the cut-off age for black and yellow taxis further.
The transport department has already phased out taxis that are more than 25 years old in December 2008.
“With newer public transport like Metro rail and monorail being added to the system, we are planning to bring down the age of taxis further from 25 years,” said new state Transport minister, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
This would mean that out of the total 55,000 taxis plying Mumbai’s roads, the numbers of Fiat taxis would go down further.
The transport department wants to introduce swankier vehicles in the fleet of taxis to make the mode of transport look more chic.
The cut-off age for taxis will be decided in the forthcoming meetings of the State Transport Authority.
At least 7,051 taxis in Mumbai are over 25 years old. Most of these taxi owners are in the process of changing permits and getting newer vehicles like Hyundai Santros, Maruti 800s and other faster cars.
“It will take at least two years for taxi drivers to entirely replace taxis that are older that 25 years,” said A.L. Quadros, secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
“The government shouldn’t be in a hurry to further reduce the age of taxis.”
Everyday on an average five taxi drivers are replacing their old vehicles.
The high court, in April 2009, dismissed the taxi union’s plea challenging the state government’s notification of banning 25-year-old taxis.
The taxi union feels that reducing the age of taxis further would enrage taxi drivers, as many of them will now have to try for bank loans, which they feel are hard to get.