Mumbaiites who struggle to catch a black-and-yellow cab during rush hour will have even more to complain about in a couple of weeks if the state transport department’s plans go through.
Fleet cab operators may end up getting 4,000 permits that used to belong to black-and-yellow cabs.
These permits were not renewed within the prescribed time and are now with the government, which could auction them to radio cab operators to run expensive cars (costing more than Rs 8 lakh).
“We are looking at completing the initial formalities of auctioning these permits by December-end,” said a senior official in the transport department who requested anonymity has he was not authorized to speak to the media.
“As it is people are complaining of fewer taxis on the roads. Instead of giving it to the fleet cab companies, these permits should be given to us,” said a member of the Mumbai Taxi Union. At present 36,000 black-and-yellow taxis ply in the city.
Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court in an interim order asked the transport department to go ahead with the initial process for an auction pending its verdict. The Mumbai Taxi Union has moved court over the decision to auction these permits instead of giving them to black-and-yellow taxis.
Though a final decision hasn’t been taken, the transport department is apparently planning to lower the security deposit of Rs5 crore and bank guarantee of Rs50 crore set for the auction last August, which had got a poor response.
“We don’t know about the new scheme. We will participate after going through it,” said an official from a fleet cab company who didn’t want to be named.