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Parking lots in Mumbai losing ground to taxi stands

After MiD DAY reported how over a 100 vehicles jostle for one parking spot in Mumbai, it emerges that the city’s fleet of 42,000 cabs might widen the ratio even more, competing as they are with private vehicles for parking space at select locations in the city and the suburbs.

The system of operating prepaid taxi stands outside various railway stations, and of share-a-taxi stands on several arterial roads in the city has apparently pronounced the scarcity of parking room for motorists by stomping on what little space is available.

For instance, sources in the Western Railway (WR) said that the prepaid taxi stand at Bandra Terminus has forced them to shut a parking lot near the station.

“The space is used by people coming to receive long-distance passengers. But there is only a small patch remaining to be used as parking lot,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity. As of now, mainly two-wheelers are parked outside the terminus.


On standby: The prepaid taxi booth at Mumbai Central station. File pic

Officials further revealed that the private contractor operating the lot outside Mumbai Central station has also asked the authorities to discontinue the prepaid taxicab stand here, which has come up near the WR’s Mumbai division office. But that stand, unoccupied for many hours of the day, takes away more space from car owners. Railway officials said that a portion of the car park has been allotted to a stand for black-and-yellow cabs. The taxis queue up here in the first half of the day when the frequency of train arrivals is more. But in the second half, the stand is deserted, with barely a couple of taxis standing here. The two prepaid stands were inaugurated less than a year ago.

To be edged out?
Even the share-a-taxi stands proposed to be built close to railway stations, bus depots, restaurants, theatres and other public establishments threaten to wrest more space from motorists who need space to park private vehicles. “The proposal for nearly 17 share-a-taxi stands has been approved. We will conduct a survey at the locations where these stands can be started,” said M Jadhav, regional transport officer (Tardeo RTO).  Though the areas have not been delineated, possible locations include Byculla, Lower Parel, Kalbadevi and others, provided they satisfy the criteria. Sources in the RTO confirmed that the possibility of continuing operating parking lots could diminish in the wake of these share-a-taxi stands.

For their part, taxi unions claim that most vehicles in the space are illegally parked and taxi stands are not to be blamed alone.
“Mostly, taxis are parked at these prepaid and share-a-taxi stands only during office hours. The private vehicles are parked illegally on the road,” said AL Quadros, Mumbai Taximen’s Union. 

42,000
Approximate number of taxis on Mumbai’s roads
 

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