Blame the state transport department if you don’t find any black-and-yellow taxis on the road, or a driver refuses to take you to your destination.
The state transport department has not appointed a private consultant for setting up a call center for black-and-yellow taxis, though the proposal was cleared in March.
The call centre would have allowed people to summon a taxi at their doorstep, like fleet cab services. Moreover, with nearly 800 illegal taxis scrapped, there are fewer taxis on the roads.
“The private consultant, Ansh Synergy Ltd, was to have started the scheme from May. It only had to get consent letters from taxi permit holders, who would then become a part of the call centre. However, there were some differences with the Mumbai Taximen’s Union and nothing has happened,” said an official from the Regional Transport Office.
On March 5, HT first reported about the proposal, Call Taxi Scheme, under which the black-and-yellow taxis can be hired through call centers, similar to those run by private fleet taxis.
The Call Taxi Scheme was supposed to start with 500 new models of black-and-yellow taxis and the number would increase to 1,500 after six months. The call centre was to be set up at an approximate cost of Rs 5 crore against which a private company could to place advertisement boards on the hood of the taxis or print them on the doors.
“The drivers were skeptical about this scheme because they felt that their daily earnings would depend on the number of calls received. With air-conditioned fleet cabs already on the roads, the chances of people hiring black-and-yellow taxis seemed less to them,” said A. Quadros, General Secretary, Mumbai Taximen's Union.
But the scheme faced another hurdle when another bidder approached the high court claiming that the transport department is “not taking the project seriously” and is not administering their request to start the call centre.
“The court has asked the State Transport Authority and Transport department to submit details of the Call Taxi Scheme in 10 weeks,” said Sanjay Khemka, CEO, Tristars Multi-Trade Pvt Ltd, the second bidder for the scheme. Dilip Jadhav, state transport commissioner, said: “I am yet to see what the HC has said about the scheme.”