The ubiquitous Mumbai taxi has become famous the world over and especially within India.
For a long time, the majority of Mumbai taxis used the Padmini vehicles which were manufactured by Premier Automobiles. But when they stopped manufacturing the Padmini and many taxis crossed twenty five years since manufacture it made it impossible for them to get their registrations extended. It is only recently that newer models such as the Maruti Omni, Alto, and Wagon R have been used for Taxis in Mumbai.
The majority of taxis even today are the Padmini. The advantage of the Padmini vehicles is that they are quite sturdy, the cost of spares is not very high, can be easily repaired, has good boot capacity, if needed three passengers can sit in the front as it does not have the floor shift gear but the steering wheel shift gear.
Unlike in many cities, where it is not easy to get taxis at odd hours, like the middle of the night, the case is different in Mumbai because there are taxi drivers here who work in two shifts 0800-2000 hrs and 2000-0800 hrs the next morning.
Since it is the auto rickshaws that generally ply on the suburban roads of Mumbai, the number of taxis in the suburbs are not of a large number. Even then, if you need a taxi in the suburb at odd hours, you could get one – the only thing is you may have to pay a little more since the official rates change a little after midnight.
Of late, there has been competition for the yellow-and-black taxis as customers today are willing to pay extra to make their journey more comfortable. Therefore Cool Cabs, which are actually air-conditioned taxis, has been introduced to our city. Today you will also find private taxis such as Meru cabs and Mega cabs plying on the road. These air-conditioned cabs use electronic meter system and give a printed receipt at the end of the journey. Booking for these cabs can be made in advance either online or through the telephone. They pick up and drop their customers to any desired destination but within the Mumbai periphery.
The metering system in Mumbai Taxis is fairly simple – the minimum fare begins at Rs15.00 which corresponds to Rs1.00 on the manual meter. There is a meter card which converts the fare shown on the manual meter to what the customer needs to pay. Mumbai Taxi drivers have been resisting efforts to make electronic meters compulsory presumably since it gives them an opportunity to make a little extra money from gullible customers though ostensibly, the reason given by the taxi drivers is that they have to spend more on electronic meters.
Today many taxis of Mumbai are gradually turning to CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). The advantage of using CNG is it is environmentally a cleaner fuel, less expensive and does not increase as rapidly the way petrol and diesel does.
As compared to taxi’s in other parts of the country Mumbai taxis are more flexible and often agree to carry passengers to their desired destination without resenting. Overall Mumbai taxis make traveling comfortable and can definitely be termed dependable.