Skip to main content

Beware of Mumbai airport taxis

The back and yellow taxis of Mumbai are at it again. Yesterday on my way back home from the domestic airport at Santa Cruz, I took a prepaid taxi (non A/C, black & yellow; B&Y).

The airport authorities, for some strange reason, have driven off the radio taxis (Meru, Mega, etc) away from their usual parking lots and into some far-off corner of the airport complex (near Sahara hotel), but have installed phone services inside the terminal. The phone service is a new facility. There are four phones available, one each for 4 services presently available in Mumbai (Mega, Meru, Forche and Priyadarshini). As soon you claim your baggage from the baggage carousels, and just before you come out of the terminal, you pick up a phone and place an order for a radio taxi. So, as against earlier when these radio taxis were given a parking space near terminals, now they are merely allowed to pick up passengers from there, not park their cars. Parking space is a bit far, near the Sahara Star Hotel.

Unfortunately, yesterday evening all radio taxis were booked, so I had no choice but to take a pre-paid B&Y cab. I opted for a non a/c one. These are rickety-rackety and usually very badly maintained; those old Fiat taxis. The fare was Rs 260 and since it was prepaid, I paid at the airport counter itself. My previous experiences with these B&Y taxis from the airport have always landed up in arguments with them because they always charge extra and their meters are more often than not, tampered. But yesterday since I took a prepaid, I thought it could be different. I was wrong.

After I alighted, the cabbie asked me for extra Rs 20-Rs 30. I asked him why, he muttered something like "insaniyat ke liye" or some such shit. He also said something like as if we customers are making a fool out of them by not paying them anything extra. What crap! I refused to pay him and had a minor argument with him. After which he grumbled and left off.

But this is what we have to put up with. Earlier, when the airport authorities had separate parking lots, just outside the airport terminal, for radio taxis, there was never a shortage of radio taxis. The parking lots always used to be full of these radio taxis; when one used to go, the other used to come upfront and solicit passengers. Radio taxis are transparent and also cheap! A ride in a Meru or Mega cab (fully air-conditioned and well-maintained car) from airport to my place would cost me around Rs 280. (this was before the fares for the B&Y taxis went up effective 1 August). A pre-paid B&Y non-AC taxi in a badly-maintained rickety-rackety taxi cost me Rs 260! I do not know on what basis these fares have been fixed, but its downright highway robbery. And why must these clowns always expect something extra from us even after paying a pre-paid fare at the airport? The airport authorities must allocate a permanent parking space to radio taxis for the convenience of passengers. And not in some remote area. It has to be just outside terminals, so that passengers with all their baggage can walk up straight to them.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There are some that come closeThe oldest mutual fund scheme in India, Unit Trust of India (UTI)’ Unit Scheme – 64 (US-64), will soon be no more. After more than 40 years of existence, curtains will fall on the US-64 bonds that mature on 31 May 2008. UTI has already sent out letters to all bond-holders about the redemption; investors are told to submit their original certificates, take their money back and leave.

For investors like Kolkata-based, Kumaresh Mukherjee, 72 it’s the end of an era. Soon after he retired from Philips India, he invested his provident fund corpus in fixed – return instruments like company fixed deposits. An electrical engineer by profession, in 1995 he also invested Rs 12 lakh or around one-third of his retirement corpus in the erstwhile US-64. After years of above-average returns, then trapped doors and turmoil that shook the Ind…

Pay Credit Card Bills Through ATMs

Tired of being ignored by ICICI Bank credit cards by being left out of their premium services despite being a loyal customer, I got myself a new credit card by HDFC Bank. It's another thing that HDFC Bank promised me a gold card with a higher spending limit, but then threatened to give me a silver card. When I strongly protested to their ways, they issued me a gold card, but with a much-lower-than-promised spending limit. I think the credit card companies ought to be made more accountable through stricter laws that are widely publicised (I recently read an RBI advertisement in the paper that if a credit card company rejects your application for a credit card, it has to give the reasons in writing; I never knew that!!!) and ought to made to pay for promising one thing, but delivering something totally different. SBI Cards too chased me for a month last year and promised to give me a platinum card with a high spending limit. What I finally got was a much-watered down Gold Card with …

Teachers at Hindi Vidya Bhavan

Being a huge fan of the late Behram Contrator, the founding editor of Afternoon, I have read many of his legendary column, 'Round & About'. In one of them, he makes a poignant irony: that although teachers are our torch-bearers throughout our school and college days, give us education and make us capable of facing and surviving in this world, they would always remain in that one place, while their students would go places in thier lives. Like a teacher would still be at the bus-stop waiting for the bus, all throughout thier lives, while the child will grow in status and stuture and pass by in car. I found that to be very true, so I look back - the least I can do, and appreciate the teachers who have taught me and have a hand to make me who I am today. And while I am at it, let me also tell you about some of them who, unfortunately, I did not like.

I did my schooling (SSC)from Hindi Vidya Bhavan (HVB), Marine Drive, Mumbai. I passed out my school in 1992, so this post will …