With fewer and fewer black and yellow taxis plying on Mumbai roads, the state transport department yesterday took a step to prevent the numbers from sliding any further. Cabbies who fail to renew their taxi permits on time will no longer be charged the earlier fine of Rs 5,000 per month as the transport authorities have now slashed this amount by 98% — to a minimum of Rs 200.
The steep fine that was charged earlier was one of the major reasons that led to the decrease in taxis in the city, said sources. “Many had stopped taking their taxis out on the road,’ said an RTO official.
Over the last five to seven years, the number of taxis has reduced from 43,000 to 32,000. In February, the department had raised the fine to Rs 5,000 per month after the five-year taxi permits lapse; this was to motivate permit holders to apply for renewals on time. But the plan backfired, and the number of taxis began dropping instead. “They could renew the permit within six months of expiry, but they didn’t. That is why the high price was suggested,” said another RTO official.