Press Releases : One more firm for jolly cab ride

One more firm for jolly cab ride
March 30, 2007 5:40 PM

With NO commitment on the number of permits, another private taxi company has entered the state government's Fleet Taxi Scheme to run metered taxi service in the city under the brand name Meru.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh will inaugurate the taxi service on Friday that will begin operations after two days.

Anjan Deb, chief operating officer of Meru Cabs run by V-Link Cabs Private Ltd, said the company plans to launch 150 CNG-run olive green Maruti Esteem taxis in a month. "All the taxis are brand new and have been equipped with GPS technology", Deb said. "The minimum fare will be Rs 15 and subsequent Rs 13 for each stage. A printed receipt will be given to the passenger at the end of the journey."

The olive green taxis will also sport a black and yellow Meru logo to match the traditional taxis. Asked how many permits had they acquired, Deb did not give any commitment, but said 50 taxis should be ready by Sunday. "We have tied up with 10 to 12 pay-and-park stands in south Mumbai. People can also call on a dedicated number at our 24x7 call center," he added.

Road Transport Office (RTO) sources said the company has managed to acquire 33 permits till date and is in the process of procuring more.

The first company, Mumbai Gold Cabs, was launched under the Fleet Taxi Scheme in October 2006, but it is still struggling due to opposition from taxi chauffeurs and their refusal to part with permits. "We have 160 taxis with 160 permits and will soon get more," Arun Sabnis, CEO of Mumbai Gold Company told HT.

Procuring a taxi permit is becoming an issue due to the freeze on the number of permits in the city and so companies have to convince existing taxi chauffeurs to surrender their permits and work with them.
The government also decided to bail out the scheme by renewing some lapsed permits.

The scheme will not succeed as the government has not taken the black and yellow cabs into confidence and the authorities are wooing private operators," Mushtaq Qureshi of City Taxi Union told HT.