The constant demands raised by the auto and taxi unions seem to have finally paid off, with around 7,000 permits of taxis and 19,000 permits of auto rickshaws set to be revived soon. These are the ‘dead permits’ that have been lying unused after the deaths of their primary holders. For each permit that is revived, a new auto rickshaw and taxi will enter the roads.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced on August 3 that the dead permits for taxis and autos would be revived. In the bargain though, the state government wants the auto and taxi drivers to improve the service provided to passengers.
“It has been brought to our notice that auto and taxi drivers keep driving their vehicle when they are approached by commuters. They stop only if the passenger is going to their desired destination. It becomes difficult for commuters to clearly view the number plates on the vehicles,” said an RTO official on condition of anonymity.
Passengers struggle to halt an empty auto or taxi as the drivers drive by without even bothering to halt. This only escalates during heavy rains.
“The quality of service provided by these taxi and auto drivers hasn’t improved and something needs to be done. There is shortage of taxis especially during peak hours and now that permits have been opened, such refusals should be stop,” said AV Shenoy, Mumbai Vikas Samiti.
The union members, however, refused to take the blame. “We cannot simply target one section of people for refusals. There is a shortage and now that the permits will be revived, such cases would come down,” said AL Quadros, Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
The auto union also defended the drivers. “There are a few drivers who refuse. With the age of rickshaws being decided, the illegal and old ones will be scrapped soon,” said auto rickshaw union leader Thampi Kurien.
The permits will be distributed via quota -- women will get 10 per cent, ex-servicemen 15 per cent, the handicapped 3 per cent, former mill workers or next of kin 20 per cent. The remaining 52 per cent will be made available for the general category.