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October 30, 2009 / The_Mike_Johnson

Taxi Drivers in India Do Not Want to Change

Taxi in Mumbai

This may be your next ride in Mumbai if things remain the same.

An article from the October 28, 2009 Wall Street Journal “On Mumbai’s Streets, Cabbies Fight to Keep Passengers Uncomfortable,” illustrates just how difficult it is for some people to change. In this case the cab drivers of Mumbai have chosen to continue driving Fiat cabs that are no longer in production. And with that old technology, the customers have to endure a very uncomfortable ride.

From the article:

“With more than 50,000 taxis, the city formerly known as Bombay has one of the biggest cab fleets in the world, as well as one of the most antiquated. Most of the taxis are Premier Padminis, the Indian version of the Fiat SpA’s 1100 model that the Italian car maker stopped producing in 1966. Even Premier Ltd., the Indian company that had the right to build them here, stopped manufacturing them in 2000. Drivers keep them running with scrap parts and use metal patches to cover the rust holes. ”

There is a growing number of Mumbai cabbies that have purchased new taxis which also features a modern taxi meter. The biggest advantage of the new cabs is air conditioning which makes an enjoyable ride for the passenger.

The article continues:

“But many of Mumbai’s 200,000 or so taxi drivers are having none of it. And they are resisting those who would offer a nicer ride in shinier new cars — with strikes, court cases and violence. Sheikh Shamin Ahmed, 43 years old, was eating chicken fried rice at a roadside stand next to his new, metallic-green cab when two old taxis full of old-taxi drivers rolled up and started to beat him. They told him his fancy new Mahindra Renault with its air conditioning and GPS navigation system had better stay away from their customers.”

So if you want to take a cab in Mumbai be prepared to deal with this:

“Despite Mumbai’s muggy 90-degree weather, they don’t have air conditioning and their old suspensions mean passengers feel every one of the city’s many potholes. When it comes time to pay, the bill riders have to depend on a mechanical meter box on the hood of the car, which shows the fare as it would have been in 1973.”

Change may come to Mumbai; the cabbies will have to wait for the time being.

Click here to view video and read the full story.

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