Oct 20, 2007

New Scheme for Mumbai Taxis

Mumbai Taxi Meter Bombay

Mumbaiites will soon be able to hire a taxi of their choice. Fulora Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Mumbai, plans to set up a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Mumbai Gold Cab (P) Ltd, which will own a fleet of yellow taxis that would be leased to several taxi drivers under a scheme designed to help taxi drivers and commuters.

A taxi driver joining the scheme will get a brand new vehicle in exchange for the old car. The driver will have to pay a daily instalment, which will depend on the type of car chosen. Those do not have the taxi permit will have to pay a security deposit of Rs 20,000, said Mr Arun Sabnis, CEO, Mumbai Gold Cab. The minimum daily instalment works out to about Rs 300. The SPV hopes to bank finance at one per cent lower than the market rate, he added.

Initially, the vehicle will be owned by the company and leased to the operator. After five years, the ownership will be transferred to the operator.

Mr Sabnis said that there would be three segments of the fleet - basic, medium and luxury. For every 1.5 km clocked by the vehicle, the customer would be charged Rs 15 (basic), Rs 19 (medium) and Rs 24 (luxury) respectively. The basic segment comprises vehicles such as Tata Indigo, Indigo Marina, Maruti Esteem and Hyundai Accent; medium segment has the Mitsubishi Lancer and the luxury segment the Toyota Corolla.

The new service will be carried out in three shifts of eight hours each. Thus, productivity will be high and drivers will earn more than what current black and yellow cab and cool cab drivers earn, said Mr Sabnis.

In comparison to the rates charged, the black and yellow cab currently charges a minimum of Rs 13, while the cool cab charges Rs 16.50 per 1.5 km. Under the scheme, the company will offer 24-hour service, bookings through fax, SMS, Internet, taxi terminals and radio booking through GPRS technology. Besides these services, the fleet will come with facilities like car audio and video entertainment, said Mr Sabnis.

Regular customers will be given a pre-paid charge card (Standard, Classic, Silver and Gold). Every card member will get bonus points that can be redeemed against normal taxi usages, while corporate card members will be provided with pre-sanctioned limited swipe cards.