The adage dignity of labour suggests that people should respect all kinds of jobs. This seems befitting for 5,500 graduates and post-graduates who have applied for new permits of taxis and auto rickshaws over the last few months. Their permits had expired and applications for the same were opened through lottery by the state transport department. Earlier this week, the 7,800 permits for taxis were reissued for Mumbai and its metropolitan region by the state government. And to their surprise, of the 27,000-plus applications received online, around 1,057 of them are graduates.
In August this year, the state transport department started the process of recalibration of electronic meters of both taxis and auto rickshaws. This has made plying public transport lucrative. Representational Pic
Sources in the Regional Transport Office (RTO) claim that the required educational qualification for candidates to apply for auto and taxi permits is class 10. At times, the rules are extended and applications of candidates who have just passed class 8 are also accepted. “Looking at the number of graduates applying for taxi permits, there are chances that we might not select those who are just class 8 pass outs,” said an RTO official on condition of anonymity.
There are around 14,000 such applicants who have completed class 8 and 13,000 have cleared their class 10. It is expected that these taxi permit holders might also lease out their permits to drivers and keep the earning from it as alternate sources. The taxi permits have been opened throughout Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which basically allows these permit holders to drive their cabs anywhere in this region.
Post-graduates too have applied for auto rickshaw permits some months ago. Out of 1.75 lakh applications received, a good 4,500 of them were post-graduates and graduates. “Once the process of selection is over, it could very well mean that the auto and taxi drivers can be well-educated,” said an official from the Transport department.
Few months ago, the state government opened applications for 63,301 auto rickshaw permits. Till date, the RTO officials have received applications from 50,577 class 10 pass outs, 18,020 class 12 pass outs and 57,274 class 8 pass outs for auto permits.
With annual increase in fare hikes of auto rickshaws and taxis, plying public modes of transport has become a lucrative job. In August this year, the state transport department started the process of recalibration of electronic meters of both taxis and auto rickshaws. The revised minimum fares of autos is Rs 17 while that of taxis is Rs 21.