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Mumbai suburbs may get more autorickshaws soon

In June, the government de-freezed auto rickshaw and taxi permits across the state and also introduced an online application process for issuing those instantly.

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2017 23:26 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai vehicles,Mumbai autorickshaws
In June, the government de-freezed auto rickshaw and taxi permits across the state and also introduced an online application process for issuing those instantly.(File)

Though the number of black-and-yellow taxis on the city’s roads is less likely to change in the near future, the number of auto rickshaws in the suburbs might go up at an unprecedented rate. According to sources, RTO offices in Mumbai have issued less than 200 conventional taxi permits as compared to permits for more than 22,000 auto rickshaws, post the de-freezing of taxis and auto permits in June.

RTO officials and taxi union leaders see a growing uncertainty about the future of conventional cabs in Mumbai after the introduction of cab-hailing services Ola and Uber in 2014 as a major reason behind this lacklustre response.

In June, the government de-freezed auto rickshaw and taxi permits across the state and also introduced an online application process for issuing those instantly.

According to RTO sources, offices at Tardeo, Andheri, Wadala and Borivli have issued 87; 71; 16 and five letter of intents (LOIs) respectively for taxi permits since online applications started in August. Also, RTO offices at Andheri, Wadala and Borivli have issued 13,781; 3,300; and 6,559 LIO for auto rickshaw permits respectively.

“For getting a taxi on the road, cabbies invest at least 15% from their pocket and raise the remaining 85% through loan. The cabbies, however, are unsure whether they will get enough business and they would able to repay loan through their earnings, since Ola and Uber introduced their app-based taxis in the city,” said Quadros.

The veteran taxi union leader said the shortage of drivers was mainly because most do not want to drive taxis. Plus, the rule of domicile to get permits, a public service badge and unavailability of suitable low-cost car models were among the other reasons.

The devaluation of taxi permits after the rise of app-based taxis was another major reason, said taxi union leaders. According to them, a taxi permit used to fetch at least Rs1.5 lakh to 2 lakh to the drivers, but now its value came down to Rs30,000-40,000, in the past three years. The valuation of auto rickshaw permits, however, remained unaffected and hence drivers get them.

A senior RTO official, who does not wish to be named, said that if no new taxis hit on the city roads, the people might face difficulties in long run as they might find it difficult to get cabs for short distances.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 23:26 IST