This may sound really strange. But someone has been quietly stealing those road-side sign boards put up by Mumbai Police that tell us where a taxi stand is supposed to be and how many taxis are expected to be found at the stand.
Not just a few, but over 1,100 of the 1,500 such sign boards in Mumbai have been taken down or wrenched off trees and lamp posts over the past two years — from Malabar Hills to Borivli and Colaba to Chembur. This has left citizens in search of a cab befuddled and taxi drivers fuming.
Now finally, the Mumbai Taximen’s Union has had enough with continued apathy from the regional transport authorities and the cops. Neither the police nor the transport authorities have done anything so far to check this menace, despite Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s intervention in 2011, asking the transport department to re-erect the sign boards.
According to the taxi union, there were over 1500 taxi stands in the city but barely 400 of them have the sign boards announcing a taxi stand. “This is a serious issue and the government should take it up on a war footing. This is affecting passengers across Mumbai who are not able to get taxis from the proper stands. And then, when they try and flag down cabs who refuse to take them, they file complaints,” said Anthony Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Union. Last month, the taximen’s union had also written a reminder letter to the government to reconstruct and fix the stands.
On June 25, 2011, the CM had a meeting of senior officials from the transport department and traffic department. Also, if the union leaders are to be believed, in the same meeting, the CM had directed the concerned departments to re erect the stands. “Even after the CM’s direction, the transport department has not started the work of refixing the taxi stands. The taxi drivers are forced to pay fines when they inadvertently park in an area not designated at a taxi stand,” added Quadros.
The taxi unions have also alleged that many stands have been encroached upon by builders and at many places shopping malls or hotel owners have removed the stands. When SMD contacted V N More, Transport Commissioner, he said, “I have asked the concerned departments to follow up on this matter soon.”