Mumbai: Kaali Peeli Taxi Drivers A Menace, Say Passengers As Charging Exorbitant Fares, Refusal To Ply Become Normal

Mumbai: Kaali Peeli Taxi Drivers A Menace, Say Passengers As Charging Exorbitant Fares, Refusal To Ply Become Normal

Hooliganism, charging exorbitant fares, refusal to ply, lacking traffic discipline and basic mannerisms are some ways passengers describe these taxi drivers.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 10:10 PM IST
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Taxi | Photo: Representative Image

Mumbai, February 21: “I try to avoid long-distance trains only because then I have to travel via Dadar railway station,” said a Wadala resident, who wants the Kaali Peeli taxis to go away for good from Dadar East, near railway station premises, just like the other passengers the Free Press Journal spoke to. Hooliganism, charging exorbitant fares, refusal to ply, lacking traffic discipline and basic mannerisms are some ways passengers describe these taxi drivers.

“In the Mumbai language, they are dadagiri masters. This has not changed for the past 30 years or so. My father used to complain about taxi drivers, especially outside Dadar station, and even at Mumbai Central, and it’s been more than seven years since he retired, and now I have inherited the same complaints about taxi drivers. Nothing changed, and probably will never,” says Bhoomi Rajane, a resident of Wadala, who goes from and to Dadar station for work.

'No Fear Of Police'

Like Bhoomi, Hari Nadar, another local feels taxi drivers have no fear of any enforcement agencies. “Maybe traffic and police cops fear these taxi drivers, if not, why has no action been taken for so many years? The basic law of going by the meter cannot be adhered to by taxi drivers, as they demand to pay a lump sum instead of going by the meter. If we say no, they would refuse to ply and since we need them, we do as they demand,” said Nadar, a 36-year-old IT professional.

Commuters Switch To Ola, Uber

Meanwhile, some passengers sought private players like OLA, and Uber, to enter the only taxi zones, to break their monopoly. “Private ones care about customer service since their pays depend on it. They adhere to rules, care about how they provide service. Taxi drivers have a monopoly, which refrains private cabs from entering their zone, and that too with aggression. It’s the police who could break the monopoly, which would benefit the common man,” shared Janpat Sheth, a local of Bhoiwada, Dadar. Like Sheth, several passengers agreed to the idea of private cabs entering the market which is ruled by Kaali Peeli taxis.

The FPJ asked the local traffic police why no actions were being taken against taxi drivers, they said lack of manpower is the main reason. An official from Matunga traffic division that looks at the area outside Dadar East railway station premises, said, “Citizens whenever they have an issue, the one uniformed personnel who is always standing there to help them. All it takes to go and inform him about which taxi and driver is troubling in any way, and we will deal with them immediately. But the other problem is we cannot have more than two personnel all the time, as there are other points where personnel are needed to manage traffic and keep an eye on patrolling."

He added, “We penalise the taxi drivers all the time, but only for traffic-related offences like refusal to ply, speeding, parking at no-parking, etc. But if their offences include verbal assault, or anything serious, citizens should register a complaint with the city police. Despite penalising taxi drivers, if their nature is to be outspoken, rude and improper, no law can change him or her.” Traffic police request passengers to only travel via cabs with meters, and report the ones who refuse to go by meters by demanding lump sums.

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