The transport department recently agreed to allow two high-end vehicles — Toyota Etios and Chevrolet Sail UVA — to be added to the existing fleet of the silver-blue cool cabs in the city.
These high-end models would be operated with a 25 per cent higher fare than the regular black and yellow taxis.
Sources in the department said that private cool cab operators like TabCab and Easy Cabs are already using Etios, and hence it can be safely introduced to the fleet of the existing silver-blue cool cabs.
“These are comfort vehicles, with 1,300 cc engines that can run smoothly,” said an RTO official. Apart from Etios, Sail sports an engine of about 1,200 cc.
But members of the taxi unions claimed that these models would cost about Rs 10 lakh and it would be extremely difficult for a regular driver to purchase them.
“It will be unviable for poor taxi drivers to buy such high-end vehicles unless they have fixed customers,” taxi union leader A L Quadros said.
The department also allowed Etios to ply as cool cabs on the Dadar-Pune route. With powerful engines under its hood, the new cabs can prove useful on the inter-city routes that are mainly used by commuters on share-basis.
Serpentine queues of cool cabs can be seen running parallel to railway tracks at Dadar (East), which normally ply passengers to major cities like Pune.
Currently, hatchbacks such as Alto, Wagan R, Santro, Indica and sedans such as Indigo, Esteem and Dzire are used as cool cabs.