Soon the city will have even more black and yellow auto rickshaws and taxis, as the state government has got rid of the freeze on the limit of auto rickshaws and taxis in Mumbai Thane and a few other cities of Maharashtra, after 20 years.

On June 17 the Home department issued a notification where they amended the Motor Vehicle Act. Sources said that the Government has now decided to amend this freeze on the number of these black and yellow vehicles thus opening the permits. This would now mean that anyone can apply for a permit with the RTO unlike the lottery system that has been in effect up to now. "The freeze on their numbers, which had been applicable since November 1997, has now been lifted," said a senior government official.

At present, there are 42,000 black and yellow cabs on the road, and around 1.04 lakh autos ply in the eastern and western suburbs. "This has been our demand for a long time, and has finally been approved," said Shashank Rao, union leader. The number of private vehicles - both four and two-wheelers - in Mumbai are on the rise and the number has touched 30 lakhs.