Pay up, say private cabs to Mumbai's black-and-yellow taxis
The private AC cabbies charge additional sums from passengers to redeem the parking cost at the airport, a cost that the kaali-peelis do not have to bear. Wanting parity in rates, private cabs are asking that black-and-yellow taxis be charged similarly
If you are travelling to or from the airport, you may want to reconsider booking radio cabs or those of mobile aggregators. The kaali-peeli cabs could fare to be cheaper than these options. The private AC cabbies charge additional sums from passengers to redeem the parking cost at the airport, a cost that the kaali-peelis do not have to bear. Wanting parity in rates, private cabs are asking that kaali-peelis be charged similarly.
The fleet cabs have an understanding with the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), and pay Rs 60 per vehicle as ‘parking charges’. Recently, even mobile aggregators like Uber and Ola have started asking passengers to cough up an additional parking charge of Rs 110 for plying people to the airport.
“We have a separate parking lot for our vehicles. This allows us to pick up passengers whenever needed with ease. We feel even the black-and-yellow taxis should be charged parking fee which would bring parity,“ said Rajesh Narad, General Manager (Marketing), TabCab.
Sources said that parking charges ensure that aggregators have been asked to park their vehicles inside the airport premises, away from the arrival and departure gates, in order to reduce traffic congestion.
“However, these aggregators don’t park their vehicles and go out of the airport periphery, yet they charge it from the passengers. That’s a wrong practice,” said a MIAL official on condition of anonymity. Even the passengers complain that these aggregators enter the airport and leave after picking up passengers and ask them to pay up.
There are around 4,500 radio cabs operating in Mumbai, of which more than 30 per cent of them operate to and from the Mumbai airport (both domestic and international). The Multi Level Car Parking (MLCP) at T2 has 10 parking levels and covers a total area of 250,000 square meters. This would be the size of 35 full-sized football fields. However, taxis, radio, and fleet cabs are parked only at level 4, 5 and 6, with each level having a capacity of around 500 cabs. “We don’t have any parking problems at the airport as we pay for it. We are provided with necessary infrastructure inside the airport premises itself that allows people to book it from within the terminal,” said Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.
At the T2, passengers have to pay parking rates if the vehicle enters the airport periphery after crossing the toll. Sources claim that when mobile-booked cabs arrive at the domestic terminal, they request passengers to wait near Balaji Hotel if they wish to avoid paying the additional sum of Rs 110. However, since this is a pre-fed input into their system, Rs 110 gets automatically deducted from the passenger’s account or is asked by the driver to cough up the amount.
Currently, the black and yellow cabs enjoy a huge space for parking their cabs both, at the domestic and international terminals of Mumbai airport. As part of prepaid black-and-yellow taxi services, a passenger pays a 30 per cent higher fare than what a normal taxi would charge, plus a service tax of Rs 20 and an additional sum for luggage. This system was introduced so that taxi drivers don't fleece passengers with rigged meters. “We are part of public transport. So why should we pay additional money for parking our cabs?” said Guddu Singh, City Taxi union leader.