By next year, expect all the noisy old taxis and autos plying on the streets in the city and suburbs to be taken off the roads. Last night the State Transport Authority (STA) decided to scrap over 5,000 rickety old taxis in Mumbai and 16,000 wobbly old auto rickshaws in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The phase-out will begin in the next three months, and is expected to be complete by next year. This means that better public vehicles can be expected.
“From August 1, the taxis that are more than 20 years old and autos more than 16 years old plying in the MMR will not be given fitness certificates. They will be scrapped and replaced with new ones,” said VN More, state transport commissioner. This is being done so as to bring in better vehicles on road, officials said.
For the first time, an age limit has been set for autos, and that of taxis has been brought down from 25 years to 20 years by the transport department. Sources in the regional transport office (RTO) said that if any taxi’s fitness certificate ends in December 2013, and it has completed the said years, its certificate won’t be renewed.
The transport department had assured to cut down the age of cabs and rickshaws while agreeing to review fare hikes in October 2012 as per the Hakeem Committee formula. Presently, there are about 41,000 taxis and over 1.04 lakh autos plying on roads.
According to RTO officials, at present, there are about 5,000 taxis that are over 20 years old, mainly of Fiat model, of which over 4,000 are registered at Tardeo RTO, around 400 at Andheri RTO and the rest at Wadala RTO. Similarly, the number of autos surpassing 16 years is around 7,000 at Andheri RTO and 9,000 at Wadala RTO. The taxi and auto unions in the city are likely to protest and even approach the Bombay High Court against this decision.