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From May, dial a taxi

mumbai Updated: Mar 06, 2010 01:22 IST
Shashank Rao
Shashank Rao
Hindustan Times
From May

From the first week of May, you can dial a number to call a black-and-yellow cab. The state transport department has cleared the Call Taxi Scheme 2010 under which even black and yellow cabs be hired through call centers, similar to those run by private fleet taxis like Meru and Mega cabs.

“People can go anywhere in the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane region using dial-a-cab facility. These taxis will also ply short distances and drivers cannot refuse,” said Avinash Nimonkar, partner of Ansh Synergies, which has the

mandate of running the call centre.

The taxi unions will be part of the scheme. The call centre number and the exact date of commencing operations are yet to be decided.

Hindustan Times had first reported about this proposal in January when the Transport department received it from the cabbies.

The dial-a-cab facility will be first available for 500 taxis and will be gradually increased to 1,500 cabs.

The union will select the newer cabs — the Maruti Omni, Tata Indica, Wagon R and Hyundai Santro — which have electronic meters.

These vehicles will also be fitted with GPS systems and phones to connect them with the call center.

“The old cabs using Premier Padmini cars wouldn’t be part of this dial-a-cab as only the newer cabs have electronic meters,” said a transport

official.

The call center will initially provide services in south Mumbai and will later extend to the entire city.

The taxis that have been on road for less than 8-years would be selected by the Taxi Union for this project.

“We would be selecting taxis on first-come-first basis. There are nearly 12,000 new taxis qualifying to be selected,” said A. Quadros, General Secretary, Mumbai Taxi Union.

“Setting up infrastructure for the call-a-cab taxis is time consuming and will take about two months till May,” said V. Phandkar, RTO officer from Wadala RTO.

The call center is being set up at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Ansh Synergies, the firm that will operate the call center, will earn its revenue through advertising on the taxis connected to the call center.

Revenue will be shared between taxi owners and the company. The transport department has granted permission for this move.