Four years after it broke onto Mumbai’s commuting scene, Mumbai Gold Cabs is all set to go off the roads.
The licence of the company that boasted a fleet of 150 cabs, has been cancelled. The company has apparently defaulted on a loan taken for setting up infrastructure and buying vehicles.
Sources in the transport department said a week ago the State Transport Authority (STA), which has members from the transport department and regional transport offices, had approved the licence cancellation.
“A letter has been sent to Mumbai Gold Cabs Pvt Ltd stating that the STA has cancelled its licence,” an officer said.
“The vehicles bought by Mumbai Gold Cabs will now be sold off to other fleet operators,” a senior official from the state transport department said.
Another RTO official said they would now have to see what steps could be taken to protect permit holders driving their taxis with Mumbai Gold Cabs.
Interestingly, the call centre of the company continues to take requests of passengers using their fleet taxis.
Arun Sabnis, chief operations officer, Mumbai Gold Cabs, confirmed they had received a letter for cancellation of permits.
“We have asked the transport department why action was taken without a prior meeting or intimation. I have made an appeal to the transport Department to withhold this action as it opposes the principles of natural justice,” he said.
The fleet operations of Mumbai Gold Cabs was launched in October 2006 by the then chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The asset recovery branch of the Union Bank of India also initiated auction of the company's 662 sq feet office at Goregaon (E) on October 15.
However, no one turned up for the auction as the reserve price of Rs 80 lakh was supposedly too high. Now, the reserve price has been brought down to Rs 70 lakh and the next auction will be held on November 10.
Transport secretary CS Sangitrao said he would have to check the issue before commenting.
This is not the only case that shows the downslide of the fleet cab concept in the city. The sale of 4,000 permits that originally belonged to the black-and-yellow taxi drivers has been stuck for last several months now.
On October 8, the Transport Department opened bids for the 4,000 permits, but only two bidders turned up.
There has been no further development on this. The Mumbai Taxi Union has approached court over the sale of these permits.