Taxi drivers junk old cabs for new models to attract passengers

After driving his Premier Padmini taxi in the city for 15 years, Chunilal Sharma, 45, was forced to sell it as scrap. Sharma, on Friday, registered his new Santro as a black-and-yellow taxi at the Tardeo regional transport office (RTO).

With commuters turning up their noses at old taxis, drivers like Sharma are increasingly scrapping them for newer cars such as Santros, Wagon Rs, Eecos and Omnis.

“As per rules, I still had 10 years before I needed to scrap my Padmini taxi. However, since passengers prefer to hire newer cars and the old one required frequent maintenance, I brought a new car,” said Sharma, who sold his old taxi for Rs. 35,000 and spent Rs. 3.5 lakh for the new one for which he had to take a loan.

“Presently we scrap at least 20 to 25 vehicles a day. This equals the number of new vehicles that are registered as taxis,” said MB Jadhav, regional transport officer, Tardeo. He added that over the last few months, about 400-500 Premier Padmini taxis are scrapped every month.

Passengers’ reluctance to hire old, rickety taxis, especially for longer distances, is causing this trend,” said AL Quadros, Mumbai Taximen’s Union.

According to sources in taxi unions, the unavailability of spare parts of the Premier Padmini also creates trouble. “Drivers have to depend on the grey market for spare parts,” said a source.

 

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