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More cool cabs is union?s answer to govt?s cabs

The state govt called all taxi unions this week seeking support for the Fleet Taxi Scheme, reports Rajendra Aklekar.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2006 19:23 IST

Taxi unions in the city are planning to induct more 250 cool cabs as an answer to the government’s fleet taxi scheme. The state government had called a meeting of taxi unions this week seeking support to the Fleet Taxi Scheme (FTS) that was launched with much fanfare in October, but has failed to take off.

“Contrary to their claim of thirty cabs, in reality the Fleet Taxi Scheme has just eight cabs registered. The scheme has totally failed and all the cab drivers that are with the fleet taxi scheme hold permits that have expired.

"To boost the scheme, the government is clandestinely trying to revive the expired permits, which will only mean more cabs on the road,” Anthony L Quadros, general secretary of Mumbai Taximen’s union said.

Another union leader said there were some instances of stone pelting on the new cabs and hence the “concerned” government had called all of us to request the Fleet Taxi Scheme cabs to use taxi stands and extend support. However, all the unions present at the meeting refused the Fleet Taxi cabs to use the existing parking stands.

Cool cabs were started in Mumbai around nine years ago when the then transport minister Pramod Navalkar flagged a fleet of 51 blue-white AC Premier Padminis on March 17, 1997. The fleet of 51 has today grown to 4,000.

Among these today, most of cabs are Indicas and around 600 are Fiats. The minimum fare of a cool cab is 25 per cent more than a normal black and yellow cab. So if minimum tariff of a normal cab is Rs 13.50, lowest fare today of a Cool Cab is Rs 16.50. The minimum fare for a FTS cab is Rs 15.

“We are against handing over cabs to a company and working as drivers. We too can run luxury cabs and will go ahead buying these new ones. There are plans for 400 more cool cabs, but we shall be definitely be able to induct 250 more at least in January,” another union leader added.

Arun Sabnis, director of Mumbai Gold Cabs, the main company operating FTS cabs in the city said they too were planning to induct more cabs soon.

Transport department officials said they had first invited taxi unions to start their own company under the FTS scheme, but they had declined to do so.

First Published: Dec 24, 2006 19:23 IST