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Rediff.com  » Business » Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

Last updated on: October 24, 2012 06:37 IST

Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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The black and yellow cabs, hired by millions of people in Mumbai for nearly half a century will fade away into history.


The sturdy premier Padmini cabs, which complete 25 years, are now being phased out for new sleeker cars that adhere to Euro emission standards.

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Image: A driver waits for customers in front of an apartment building in his Premier Padmini taxi in Mumbai's suburbs.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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With a government order banning taxis over 25 years, the number of Premier Padmini taxis has begun to dwindle and, in a few years, they will be gone from Mumbai's streets altogether.

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Image: A driver waits for customers in his Premier Padmini taxi on Marine Drive in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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Mumbai's current taxi fleet has about 51,000 vehicles, of which it is estimated that around 8,000 vehicles are over 25 years old.

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Image: A goat walks past a mechanic sitting inside a Premier Padmini taxi before it's scrapped at a scrap yard in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
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The Premier Padmini was manufactured in India by Premier Automobiles from 1964 to 2000. It is based on the design of Fiat's 1100-series cars from the 1960s.

It was Premier Automobiles which joined hands with Fiat in introducing taxis in India. 

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Image: A driver stands amid parked taxis near Santa Cruz domestic airport in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: India , Padmini , Fiat

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The beleaguered company, however, stopped manufacturing in 2000. Premier cars became very popular in India as people preferred the sleek model to the bulkier Ambassador from Hindustan Motors.

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Image: Drivers and mechanics of Premier Padmini taxis gather together at a workshop in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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The vehicle quickly became the iconic workhorse in Mumbai's fleet of black and yellow taxis until economic liberalisation in the 1990s allowed different makes and models to be produced in India.

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Image: Vinay, 30, a taxi driver, looks out from his Premier Padmini taxi as he waits at a signal during rush hour in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , India , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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There has been a lot of debate over rise in pollution and environmental threats caused by these vehicles, but taxi chauffeurs refute this, saying that all taxis run on CNG or LNG.

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Image: A Premier Padmini taxi travels along Marine Drive in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: LNG , CNG

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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They reckon that the Fiat taxis are sturdier and safer compared to the Maruti Omni (which is the model most cabbies plan to buy to get back on the roads).

The government move is to encourage fleet taxis, they point out.

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Image: A de-registered Premier Padmini taxi is pictured covered in dust with love hearts etched on its windows inside a scrapyard in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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Environmentalists who support the phase-out programme say that the taxis are dirty, old, unsafe and polluting and should be replaced by less-polluting and safer vehicles.

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Image: A taxi driver takes an afternoon nap with his hand on the steering wheel of his Premier Padmini taxi in Mumbai.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Mumbai

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A taxi driver takes an afternoon nap next to his Premier Padmini taxi in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A taxi driver sits inside his Permier Padmini taxi with his blue light switched on as he waits for customers in the rain near Mumbai's Chhatrapathi Shivaji railway station. 

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A taxi driver looks out of his Premier Padmini taxi while stuck in traffic in a slum in Mumbai. 

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A taxi driver sleeps on the boot of his Premier Padmini taxi at a taxi park in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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A mechanic sits on a seat salvaged from a scrapped Premier Padmini taxi at a workshop in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A taxi driver inspects the engine of his Premier Padmini taxi at a taxi park in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A Premier Padmini taxi makes it way through pedestrians and vehicle traffic on a crowded street in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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Customers sit in the cramped backseat of a Premier Padmini taxi during rush hour in Mumbai. 

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A family looks out from a Premier Padmini taxi parked along a street in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A mechanic uses a wire brush to scrub the inside of a Premier Padmini taxi before it is refurbished at a taxi workshop in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A driver looks at his Premier Padmini taxi after its rear wheel got stuck in a pothole on a suburban road in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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A mechanic salvages engine parts from a Premier Padmini taxi which will be scrapped at a scrapyard in Mumbai. 

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Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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Premier Padmini taxis are parked outside a workshop in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A driver demonstrates the use of a manually operated fare meter on his Premier Padmini taxi in central Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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Premier Padmini taxis drive along a suburban street in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A mechanic pulls the door off a de-registered Premier Padmini taxi being taken apart at a scrapyard in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A taxi driver waits for customers in his Premier Padmini taxi at Marine Drive in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A mechanic sits in the boot of a Premier Padmini taxi as he tries to fix the vehicle's brake lights at a workshop in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A mechanic looks at the suspension of a Premier Padmini taxi near a workshop in Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini , Mumbai

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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A man washes a Premier Padmini taxi at a taxi parking area in central Mumbai.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: , Padmini

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Sunset for Mumbai's famous black and yellow taxis

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Scrapped fare meters from Premier Padmini taxis lie in a pile at a scrapyard in Mumbai.


Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.
Tags: Padmini , Mumbai

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