The city’s art students will now get a chance to give Mumbai’s cabs a makeover. The state Transport Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has decided to ask art students from different colleges in Mumbai to give their suggestions on what the colour of the taxis plying in Mumbai should be.
This move comes after the previous announcement to paint all taxis in yellow did not receive great support from the people.
The idea behind this was to create a distinct identity for the 56,000 taxis that are plying on Mumbai roads and get them to be in one uniform colour.
“The point was not to ape the West but to get a young fresh colour which is true to the spirit of Mumbai,” said Patil.
Also, like the railways and other modes of transport like the metro and monorail, which will have distinct defining colours, the state does not want taxis to be left behind in this new colour branding.
The department is sending letters to different art institutes, including the JJ School of Arts, to get ideas on the potential design.
“We want youngsters to create something which symbolises Mumbai and people feel a sense of belonging. Yellow taxis are seen in New York and we do not wish to copy it,” he said.
The state wants to finalise the colour by the end of January after discussing the same with the taxi union.
The black-and-yellow taxis have been plying since the 1960s and the government is now in the process of phasing out taxis that are older than 25-years, mostly the Fiat Premier Padminis. About 8,000 cabs will be replaced with newer cars like the Maruti Omni, Alto, Wagon R, Hyundai Santro and Tata Indica.
These new cabs will be painted with the new colour scheme. For the colour scheme of the remaining taxis, the government will hold discussions with the taxi union, as it involves considerable expenditure.
Taxi owners have also suggested that advertisements should be allowed on the taxis to help them recover the makeover costs.