Tatas plan fleet taxis in metros | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Tatas plan fleet taxis in metros

Your choice of taxis in the city could expand to a surprising new entrant – the Tatas.

mumbai Updated: Feb 08, 2010 01:16 IST
Shashank Rao

Your choice of taxis in the city could expand to a surprising new entrant – the Tatas.

Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd (TRIL), a Tata Group company, is planning to enter the fleet taxi business across four metro cities including Mumbai.

While this will be a first for the Tatas — India’s leading business group, which has historically had a presence in far larger, capital-intensive industries, the project is only expected to make life easier for Mumbai’s taxi-using commuters, who will have an additional option to the city’s relatively cheaper but rickety black-and-yellow taxis, and the modern but more expensive vehicles of new private fleet taxi services launched in the city in the last few years.

TRIL managing director and CEO Sanjay Ubale confirmed these plans to Hindustan Times and said: “The plan is in its initial stage, we are currently reviewing the cities we will get into. Mumbai, though, will not be part of the first phase.”

The Tatas plan to enter Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore, apart from Mumbai. The recent political controversy surrounding Mumbai taxis and the Marathi language is believed to be a factor in Tata’s Mumbai plans.

In late 2009, problems surfaced when owners of Cool Cabs and black-and-yellows agitated against private fleet taxis entering the airport. TRIL sources competition in Mumbai is tough, in addition to bureaucratic hurdles typical of doing business in the state.

Sources said the odds of a Tata taxi service starting in Mumbai by the end of this year are strong. The kind of vehicle and its colour are not decided yet. “Getting a vehicle will not be a problem for us,” the TRIL official added.

Sources in the state transport department said existing fleet taxi companies in Mumbai are preparing for competition.

Meru Cabs, which currently runs nearly 1700 taxis in the city, recently launched an additional service allowing commuters to pay by credit card. Another fleet operator, Mega Cabs, introduced recently 100 new Tata Indigo cars to its fleet of 700-odd cabs.