Very few passengers know that taxi drivers can be differentiated on the basis of their uniform. Those wearing khaki uniforms have got the taxi on rent and white-uniformed drivers are the owners of the taxi. Now, the taxi union has written a letter to the transport department to stop this discrimination. In its letter the union has asked that drivers be allowed to wear any type of clothes.
According to a notification, which was issued in 2007 by the home department, all taxi drivers are to wear khaki shirts and trousers. But many taxi drivers defy this order, following an earlier 2003 notification that asks for different clothes based on the ownership of the vehicle.
The 2007 order irked drivers as it mandated the use of only khaki uniform and several drivers can be seen wearing the old white uniforms in defiance of the order. Union leaders claim that the traffic police and RTO inspectors routinely penalise such drivers. The letter written by the Mumbai Taximen’s Union (MTU) points out that this change was enforced despite the union’s opposition.
“This is total discrimination and the government should change this. Taximen should get options and be allowed to wear whatever they want irrespective of whether they own the taxi or not,” said A L Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union.
“After 2003, uniform-based differentiation was introduced. We have written a letter to the transport department demanding a change of rule,” added Quadros. The union is also upset as many drivers are being fined by authorities for not wearing the uniform. The transport department said that they are in the process of changing the rules.
Ramsakal Ojha, who is a driver for the last 15 years, said that he doesn’t like it when some passengers ask him if he is the owner of the taxi. “This is wrong on the part of the government. The government should change this rule immediately,” he said. There are approximately 30,000 taxis that run on Mumbai roads and if the unions are to be believed, the demand for the taxis has increased due to hiked bus fares.
The number of taxis that run on Mumbai roads