Mumbai has seen several coronavirus related curbs being lifted in the last couple of days, but the city’s iconic Kaali-Peeli taxis still continue to operate with the two-passenger restriction. Close to 25,000 taxis operating in the city have been impacted by the lockdown-like restrictions during the second coronavirus wave and taxi drivers, who depend on their cabs for a living, have seen a 70 percent drop in their business in the past few months.
Now with life in the city limping back to normalcy, The Taximen’s Union has approached the state transport ministry, demanding that they too should be provided some relaxations. The union has submitted a petition before the transport ministry demanding that the two-passenger rule be lifted and taxis be allowed to ferry four passengers so that cab operators can survive and that the larger interest of the commuters can also be served.
Taxis are a crucial mode of commutation in Mumbai as they are the most convenient public transport on feeder routes that connect railway stations to corporate hubs in South Mumbai.
Taxi Union leader AL Quardos believes that the two-passenger rule is not practical or economical for a family that wishes to take the Kaali-Peeli cabs. “We will follow Covid protocols for sure, but we should be allowed to ferry four passengers now as everything is open — right from malls to restaurants. The last couple of months have had an impact on 25,000 cab drivers and their families. Business was zero as there was no crowd on the street. Now we demand this rule should be revoked so that we can also earn and survive,” he said.