The state has booked the black-and-yellow taxis for eight days, to ferry officials on election duty to and from polling booths
More than 900 black-and-yellow cabs have been booked for election duty this May. The state government has reserved the taxis for at least eight days – between May 11 to May 19 – to ferry officials on duty and ensure smooth electoral process.
Over 900 taxis won’t be available to the common man between May 11 and 19. File pic for representation
At a recently held meeting between taxi unions and RTO officers, it was decided that these taxis would only be used for election duty and would remain off the roads for the common man.
The vehicles will ferry poll duty officers, teachers, government staff and everyone involved in election duty. Though Mumbai goes to poll on April 24, the cabs would be used during the counting process after voting.
“These taxis will take the duty officers to different booths, say schools, colleges, government offices, during the day and also drop them back home. In case some work comes up during the night, these drivers will be called for their services,” explained an RTO officer.
The driver would be paid for fuel and food apart from the everyday fare, to make up for the loss of daily earnings. The driver will be paid R1,800 per day. If the distance covered exceeds 100 kilometres, an additional Rs 12/km will be paid. Last year, these drivers were being paid R1,200 or so, and unions had demanded R2,000 per day this year.
“The money would be finally reimbursed by the Collector’s office,” said A L Quadros, taxi union leader. The drivers may also send their vehicles in support of political parties and their rallies. But, that would be a personal agreement between the party and the owner of the taxi.
Apart from this, even government vehicles, mainly used by officers and given by government agencies like MMRDA, MHADA, Mantralaya and other state government authorities, would also be used.
No decision has been taken on the number of rickshaws to be used for poll duty.
On poll duty
Following are number of government vehicles registered at the three RTOs in the city that would be employed in election work.
Andheri RTO: 145
Tardeo RTO: 130
Wadala RTO: 125
Subhash Upadhyay, taxi driver since 25 years
I don’t mind if my taxi is needed during the election week. It seems a decent deal to give us Rs 1,800 per day.
LalbahadUr Prasad, taxi driver since 22 years
I will not give my taxi for election work. I have fixed passengers for each day, and not serving them for a week involves a risk of losing them, which I cannot afford.
Amount the drivers will be paid per day for election duty