A WEEK after the Maharashtra government eased restrictions on the number of permits to be issued for taxis and autorickshaws in Mumbai, response from drivers of black-and-yellow cabs (kaali-peelis) has been poor. Officials and drivers say fears of low earnings owing to competition from aggregator taxi services is behind the falling number of permits.
Last week, the government allowed fresh permits to be issued for taxis and auto-rickshaws, to encourage use of public transport in the city. “The directive has met with poor response from kaali-peeli drivers. There has, however, been enthusiasm for autorickshaw permits, as auto drivers can still hope for a good remuneration,” a senior transport department official said.
Taxi unions in the city have complained that the delay in implementation of the Maharashtra City Taxi scheme 2017 in the city is affecting them adversely. “Why would a commuter choose a taxi running at Rs 22 per kilometre over an app-based cab plying at Rs 4 or Rs 6 per kilometre?Unless there is fair competition, drivers will not see any profit in plying taxis,” said K K Tiwari, leader of the Swabhiman Taxi Sanghatana.
“Drivers of kaali peelis are making earning lower today in comparison to what they were making 10 years ago. But response to the permits may improve in the the coming days. We expect at least 10,000 drivers to come forward,” A L Quadros, leader of Mumbai Taximen Union, said. Even during the lottery announced in 2014 for renewing old permits, officials said, takers for rickshaw permits were more than those for taxis.
“Taxis must upgrade to changes adopted by others. Provision of air-conditioned cabs, using apps for bookings are changes they must learn to be able to sustain in the business,” a senior transport department official added. Awareness campaign on fuel sale As a measure against illegalities in the sale of petrol, 48 retail outlets of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) plan to ask their customers to practise caution while refuelling their vehicles.
Through campaigns and posters, they will ask users to carry out simple checks using filter paper and other tools to ensure that the quality and quantity of fuel received is correct and pure. “We would also deliver benefits to users who advocate the need of such checks,” an official from the IOC said. Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar inaugurated this campaign at Bandra on Monday.