Raise taxi rates from Rs 22 to Rs 30 or face strike, say Mumbai cab drivers

Updated: Jun 02, 2019, 07:44 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Taxi drivers want the minimum fare to go up by Rs 30; blame rising CNG rates for their plight

Raise taxi rates from Rs 22 to Rs 30 or face strike, say Mumbai cab drivers
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Mumbai's black-and-yellow taxi drivers have sought a rise in minimum fare from the existing '22 to '30 and have threatened an agitation if their demands are not met. They said it was becoming difficult for them to survive given the rising consumer price index and sheer expenses of maintaining and running a cab in Mumbai.

Speaking to mid-day, Mumbai Taximen's Union leader Anthony Quadros said they first approached the Maharashtra government last year, seeking a hike of Rs 3, raising the minimum fare from Rs 22 to Rs 25, but the government did not pay attention. This year, they are again raising the issue and seek a minimum fare of Rs 30. "We will launch an indefinite agitation, if our demands are not met," he said.

"The last minimum taxi fare was revised from Rs 21 to Rs 22 exactly four years ago on June 1, 2015, on the directives of Bombay High Court. Taxis in Mumbai run on CNG and there has been a hike in CNG rates five times since then: once in 2017, thrice in 2018 and once in 2019. There has been a total rise of Rs 9.26 in the CNG rates," he explained.

"The consumer price index has also risen tremendously during the last four years and the rates of third party insurance premiums have also gone up. In December 2017, the Khatua Committee had recommended rising fares by Re 1 per km, but for some reason, the government had not accepted their suggestions. Taxi drivers are losing a sum of Re 1 per km on CNG alone and they are not able to absorb the loss with CNG prices going up continuously," Quadros said, adding that he had submitted a letter to the state transport minister, Diwakar Raote. Maharashtra transport department officials said they will not be in a position to comment immediately.

Commuters react

Ankit Mehta: "Are they kidding? Bad quality, refusal to ply, smelly — why pay Rs 30 for all that?"

Narayan Kannan: "Well, they can start by agreeing to go. No point if it's Rs 30 or Rs 40, if they prefer sitting and reading the paper rather than helping people. They must understand they're service providers. If they don't help us, they will become obsolete." 

Vinayak Khadye: "Their demand should be met. Otherwise, gradually they will go out of business."

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