Transport dept to use MHADA lottery system for taxi permits

Published: 16 December, 2013 06:59 IST | Shashank Rao |

The luck of the ordinary Mumbaikar, repeatedly snubbed by cabbies, is about to change that is if the transport department can overcome a technical hitch

After 16 long years, 32,000 new taxis will be unloaded on the roads, as dead permits would be revived through a lottery system. To ensure the operation goes smoothly, the department is in talks with Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), for borrowing the software the latter uses for its housing lotteries.

“We are taking the help of MHADA for this software that would require some alterations. This is for the first time that we will be issuing permits through a lottery system, and so we are trying to cover all the bases,” said a representative of the transport department, on condition of anonymity. Authorities claim that currently, the software used by MHADA asks for several details from a prospective homebuyer, including income and related information. They maintained that though the skeleton of this software would remain about the same, it would be fleshed out differently.

“We are trying to expedite the process. There are four to five aspects to getting this lottery system in place, including calling for tenders, appointing private companies, and other vital steps. All this takes time,” said a senior official from the transport department. Sources said that MHADA was assessing the amount it would levy on the department for using its application. Officials added that the process of setting up the lottery system would probably go on till March. Once the whole process is concluded, 32,000 expired permits would be reissued, thus putting more taxis on the roads.

“We look forward to the lottery system, as it would allow additional taxis to ply. All RTOs recently began collating data of expired taxi permits. Moreover, officials have insisted that unlike now, when permit holders can do business by giving taxis on rent, it will become mandatory for a taxi permit holder to drive the vehicle himself,” said taxi union leader AL Quadros.

More women drivers
The transport department will also be issuing permits to women, who would like to drive the black-and-yellow cabs. Nearly 100 such authorisations would be given out to women. In addition, they can also join the fleet cabs, which too employ female drivers. Presently, there are only a couple of fleet cab companies in the city with female drivers.

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