Members of the Black and Yellow AC Taxi Club have decided to ferry passengers in their air-conditioned taxis without charging extra
After all the flak earned by cabbies in the recent past, a fleet of 350 well-intentioned drivers of black-and-yellow cabs across the city are on a mission to earn back your trust.
Their means to this difficult end: providing passengers with air-conditioned (AC) rides at no extra cost.
At present, any passenger hiring a black and yellow AC taxi -- whether a Santro, Alto or Wagon R -- is charged extra arbitrarily, in the absence of any specific guidelines for air-conditioned rides.
Noting that they often lose passengers because of these hiked rates, members of the newly formed Black and Yellow AC Taxi Club have decided to give their counterparts some stiff competition, by offering their passengers the luxury of air-conditioning, without burning a hole in their pockets.
The cabbies plan to start their operations after Diwali. "We have to rethink our attitude if we want to compete with private operators like Meru, Easy and Cool cabs. The formation of the Black and Yellow AC Taxi Club is a step in this direction.Since we don't have the permission to charge additional AC fare we have decided to charge regular fares. If the passengers are satisfied, they can show their approval by tipping us. But we will not force passengers to pay extra," said A L Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen's Union.
"We also aim to protest against the bad behaviour meted out to the drivers of AC cabs by traffic cops. They unnecessarily harass the drivers of new cabs which come equipped with ACs. As there is no specific guideline barring the use of ACs in black and yellow taxis, they have no right to maltreat us. Through this club, we can mobilise hundreds of cabbies with the help of a single phone, to rush to the aid of any driver who faces any problem at the hand of cops," Quadros further added.
"Till date, 350 cabbies have joined the club. Certain issues are yet to be finalised, and a general meeting of the newly floated body will be held after Diwali. After the meeting, we will start the services," said Quadros.
State Transport Commissioner V N More said, "If cabbies want to provide air-conditioning without charging passengers extra money, they can do so. As per the laws, they are to be penalised if they solicit extra fares for switching on the ACs."
He added, "Currently, we have not received any intimation for the operation of such a club from the taximen's unions. If we receive any notification, we will look into it, and send it for approval."