In a rather heart-wrenching moment that marks the end of an era, the iconic Kaali Peeli taxis—a quintessential symbol of Mumbai’s busy streets—will take their final ride today. The government of Maharashtra has called for these iconic taxis to end their life on the roads of Mumbai. These beloved yellow-topped black taxis, which have been an integral part of the city’s culture for decades, are set to stop operations after serving the people of this city of dreams for countless years.
Why are the Kaali Peeli Taxis being discontinued?
Once an ever-present vehicle on the roads, the Kaali Peelis, based on the Indo-Italian iconic automobile Premier Padmini model, will be thoroughly missed by Mumbaikars. According to the government of Maharashtra, the decision to bid adieu to these taxis has come due to their age. A Maharashtra government official recently stated that as the state does not permit cars older than 20 years to be on roads, these living legends of the streets of Mumbai will be banned from October 30, which is today.
What do people of Mumbai think about this decision?
As per many folks from Mumbai, this comes as a double blow to the city’s heritage. This is because recently the government also discontinued the city’s iconic double-decker buses that had been a familiar presence for 15 years. Now, with these taxis, which found their way into the hearts of Mumbaikars, also being discontinued, this decision from the government of Maharashtra has upset a lot of people from the financial capital of India.
The origins of Kaali Peeli Taxis
For those who are not familiar, these taxis, which became famous as “Kaali Peeli Taxis,” originated with the rise of the popularity of the Fiat 1100 Delight sedan. Following this, they then transformed into the Premier President and finally became the iconic Padmini in 1974. Over the years, these vehicles became much more than just modes of transportation. They played a pivotal role in the livelihoods of many. The Walchand Hirachand family, who owned Premier Automobiles Ltd., provided these at reduced prices, becoming a source of income for those who migrated to Mumbai in search of employment.
Later in the journey of these taxis, when petrol prices soared in the country, Premier Automobiles responded by releasing the first diesel-powered Padmini cabs. These more economical taxis continued serving the city until the 2020s, despite the manufacturing halt in 2001. However, now, finally, after decades of their service, these taxis will be discontinued and will most likely never make their return to the streets of Mumbai.
What does Mumbai’s taxi union say about this decision?
A. L. Quadros, President of Mumbai Taximen’s Union, made a plea to the Government of Maharashtra to preserve a few of these iconic taxis. However, the likelihood of the government accepting this request is very unlikely. Apart from this, most of the taxi drivers who drove these iconic taxis are not happy with the decision. Most likely, these taxi drivers will now be making their switches to newer vehicles to continue their livelihood.
Featured image courtesy WhatsHot