Free or occupied! Roof light on black and yellow taxis will tell commuters

All new vehicles registered from February 1 to have indicators

The State Transport Department has decided to install rooftop indicators on all new black and yellow taxis registered in Mumbai from February 1, which will let commuters know if the cab is occupied, free, or off duty. The move is expected to bring down ride refusals by cab drivers.

Transport commissioner Shekhar Channe said the government had already issued a notification for the installation of the indicators for taxis and autorickshaws.

“Based on the experience with taxis, we will be deciding on the date of installing the rooftop indicators on new autorickshaws in the city,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the inaugural function of the 31st Road Safety Week.

The government resolution (GR) was issued on November 1, 2019, highlighting that the indicators would have three colours: green, red and white. The green will have the words ‘For Hire’ in English and its equivalent in Marathi. Similarly, red and white will have the words ‘Hired’ and ‘Off Duty’ respectively and their equivalent in Marathi.

The GR said the installation of roof light on existing taxis should be made compulsory at the time of renewal of fitness certificate or from a date specified by the Regional Transport Authority. Roof light for autorickshaws shall be made mandatory from the date as may be specified by the transport commissioner.

Mumbai has around 43,500 black and yellow taxis and around 2.05 lakh autorickshaws.

The project, first proposed in 2012, has been in the pipeline for years owing to several issues such as language, and opposition from unions who felt that the cost of installing the indicators would have to be borne by drivers. Officials from the Transport Department said they would be having a meeting with union members and manufacturers later this week to resolve the cost issue.

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