Few takers for radio taxi permits, ‘aggregators’ double their reach

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 10 Desember 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Private cab rental aggregators have managed to increase vehicles under their wing to nearly 10,000 in Mumbai, but radio taxis like Meru Cabs and Tab Cabs (which are government regulated) have stagnated at 5,500, half that level, for the past few years.

Said a senior transport official, "We have been trying to increase the strength of radio taxis in Mumbai, but in vain. The last time we could auction permits was when Tab Cab entered the market and bagged 4,000 new permits." However, even TabCab has not been able to launch utilise all the permits and has a fleet of just about 2,800.

Meru Cabs, which was the leading fleetcab company in Mumbai for several years before being laid low by union trouble for a while, now faces a shortage of good quality drivers. So, even its permits are underutilised and few cabs can be seen on the road, sources from the industry said.

An RTO official said the state government had attempted to increase the number of fleet taxis in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region by launching 7,500 new permits in February this year. "We floated tenders, but there was not a single bidder. We issued the tenders for a second time about a month later and there was still no response," the official pointed out.

"The entire fleet taxi permit scheme of the government has been a flop show this year," said taxi union leader A L Quadros, who has now demanded that these permits be allotted to launch new black-and-yellow taxis in the city. If this happens, the radio taxi trade will not be able to expand beyond the present strength.

A fleet taxi operator who requested anonymity, said, "The fleet taxi trade is a bleeding industry. It is difficult to run the cabs and make profits. Some of the other companies have cut down on their fleet size on the road. Also, there is a threat from several illegal tourist cabs which are masquerading as fleet taxis in the city."

This is besides the presence of mobile-app based aggregators for car rentals, which currently pose the biggest competition to existing radio taxi operators, the sources added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Radio taxis,Private cab,Mumbai Metropolitan Region,good quality drivers,cab rental

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