A DAY AFTER the state government made it compulsory for vehicles like taxis and tourist cabs to install speed governors to restrict speed to 80 kilometer per hour (kmph), the largest taxi union in the city has asked for more time to bring the move into effect. They demand a three-month period to complete installation of speed governors in at least 35,000 kaali-peelis.
The Regional Transport Offices (RTO) in the city received a circular from the state on Wednesday to give fitness certificates only to those vehicles which are fitted with speed governors. Vehicles classified under the directive include kaali-peelis, app-based cabs, tourist taxis, small tempos and pick up vans weighing less than 3,500 kg. Officials believe the move would allow vehicles to avoid speeding and ensure prevention of accidents.
On Thursday, almost 300 black and yellow taxis in the city that approached different RTOS for renewal of fitness certificates were denied renewal because the required equipment was not installed. “We were completely unaware of the sudden requirement of governors in vehicles. Around 300 kaali peelis had to return from transport offices yesterday as the equipment was not in place,” A L Quadros , leader of taxi unions said.
The taxi union has demanded more time to install the governors citing lesser availability of the equipment in the market. “We have written a letter to the transport commissioner’s office asking for more time to fit kaali-peelis with speed governors. As we will have to arrange for the required funds to buy the device which is not readily available in the market, we demand a relaxation of three months time before they call for this move,” Quadros said. Each speed governor costs between Rs 8,000-9,000.
In October 2015, the government had exempted taxis from installing speed governors. However, in February 2016, the Karnataka High Court removed the exemption from taxis.
To comply with the order, the ministry of road transport and highways issued a fresh notification of the same on May 3, cancelling the exemption which was later communicated to the RTOs.
Quadros called the move unnecessary as they operate within city limits. “The movement of taxis is restricted to Mumbai Metropolitan region. As we already operate at a speed of 12 km/hr, our speed remains controlled. We want the state government to address our concerns to immediate effect without which we will file a petition in the Bombay High Court,” he added.
The state officials remained keen on implementation of the move at the earliest. “As this is an order from the Centre, we will follow it to immediate effect. The concerns of taxi unions will be forwarded to the state government,” a senior RTO official said.
“Majority of commercial vehicles including tempos have these governors fitted. We want the government to give clarity on which vehicles come under the scanner,” said Dayanand Natkar, leader of Maharashta Rajya Vahatuk Truck and Tempo Mahasangh. Transport experts hailed the government move. “This is a step in the right direction,” one of the experts said. Representatives from app-based cabs like Ola and Uber refused comment.