Very soon, maxi-cabs will officially ply on the state roads because a Cabinet sub-committee of public transport is in favour of legalising them despite strong opposition from the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC).
The committee on Tuesday gave the state public transport corporation an option to let maxi-cabs run on the routes on which it does not ply its buses. It suggested that the routes could be regulated so that the corporation does not suffer financial losses. The committee also agreed in principle to recommend the reduction in passenger tax by at least 7% to help public transport company in bringing down existing bus fare. Maxi-cabs are light motor vehicles that carry between 7 and 12 passengers, and they ply on fixed routes as per fare fixed by the government. But more than 4 lakh maxi-cabs ply illegally in the state.
This results in revenue loss to the government and also poses a danger to passengers. Currently, the state transport department gives commercial public transport permit to vehicles with capacity up to 7 seats, and 13 and more, but it does not allow vehicles having capacity between 7 and 12 seats to work as public transport.
In Tuesday’s meeting, all ministers — Manohar Naik, Rajesh Tope, Shivajirao Moghe, Patangrao Kadam and Gulabrao Devkar were unanimous on regularising maxi-cabs. One of these ministers told HT, on condition of anonymity that MSRTC managing director Deepak Kapoor projected a huge loss (more than Rs300 crore per year) for the company if the cabs were allowed. “But we assured him that the state would not allow maxi to ply on the MSRTC routes. Transport department can act as a regulator in this regard.”