Mumbai set to get 7,500 new black-and-yellow taxis

After taxi unions met the new transport commissioner, his department is looking to revive 7,500 dead permits; CM Devendra Fadnavis is likely to throw open the online application process on November 28

After taxi unions cried hoarse over the new Transport Commissioner, Mahesh Zagade, not giving them enough time, the transport chief met them yesterday for two hours. What emerged from the meeting is that the transport department is looking to revive 7,500 permits of the black-and-yellow taxis by November 28.

Of the 15,000 dead permits, 7,500 permits will be allotted to black-and-yellow taxis and the rest will go to radio cab services like Meru, Tab Cabs etc. File pic for representation

“We are likely to invite applications for 7,500 black-and-yellow taxi permits on November 28. The process will be thrown open by CM Devendra Fadnavis,” said an RTO official. Such permits are normally dead permits that have either expired, haven’t been transferred to the kin of the permit holder, or haven’t been renewed for long. The application process for the permits will be online, similar to the one for auto rickshaw permits launched in February.

In all, around 15,000 such permits need to be revived, of which the Transport department will likely reinstate half for the black-and-yellow taxis. The remaining ones will be transferred to increase the fleet of radio cab services in the city such as Meru, Tab Cabs and others, at a later stage.

The permits will be distributed through an online lottery system and those with criminal records in the past year will not be allowed to apply. Applicants also need to provide proof that they have been residents of the state for more than 15 years, a requirement that unions are not too happy about.

“Majority of the families of taxi drivers stay in their native places, and the documents are also kept there. After the death of the permit holder, when the kin requests for a transfer of documents the RTO asks them to prove that they have been domicile residents of the state for the last 15 years,” said A L Quadros, senior taxi union leader. Unions are demanding that this clause be removed and such cases — where kin of dead permit owners who may not necessarily have lived in the state — also be considered as valid applicants.

The new taxis are required to install a GPS/GPRS system, along with an electronic meter. Drivers will also need to display their permits, police and women helpline numbers and RTO contact details inside the vehicle. These new cabs will ply across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which includes Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai, Thane, etc. There are currently 32,000 black-and-yellow taxis on the road.

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