Home >politics >policy >Mumbai’s Premier Padmini taxis to be phased out from Wednesday

Mumbai: More than 400 Premier Padmini taxis are expected to stop running in Mumbai in August in line with a Maharashtra government order that bans cabs that are more than 20 years old from plying in the city from 1 August.

All told, close to 4,500 Premier Padminis are expected to be phased out from the city eventually as part of the move.

Premier Automobiles Ltd, now called Premier Ltd, stopped manufacturing the Padmini in 2000. Of the 42,000 taxis in Mumbai, 9,500 are Premier Padminis, according to A.L. Quadross, leader of the Mumbai Taxi Association.

“After 31 July, no Premier Padmini vehicle which is more than 20 years old will be allowed to ply as a taxi in Mumbai Metropolitan Region," said Shailesh Sharma, state transport secretary.

All Mumbai taxis need an annual fitness certificate from the regional transport office (RTO). Those more than 20 years old will be refused certification and will need to be scrapped, he said.

That could lead to gains for car makers such as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd. The move is “in line with the long-pending suggestion of the auto industry for a policy of removal of every old vehicle that do not conform to the stipulated environment and safety norms", said Rakesh Shrivastav, senior vice-president, sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor India.

A Maruti Suzuki executive didn’t respond to calls and text messages.

A Mumbai-based Maruti dealer, who declined to be identified, said, “We expect sales to improve in the coming months with the phasing of the old taxis," he said.

“The Premier Padmini became very popular because it was easy to maintain and reliable," Maitreya Doshi, chairperson and managing director of Premier told Mint in an interview on 14 July. “It was great for private car owners but even better for taxi owners."

The Bombay high court upheld the state government’s decision to scrap the vehicles in March.

“While this is a good move, the government should not have forced the decision. They have failed to offer any financial assistance for the purchase of new taxis," Quadross said.

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