Black n' Yellow taxis, R.I.P.

The prosperity that liberalisation brought in its wake dramatically altered the Indian business, and even its social landscape. A lot what we see as 'altered' around us is primarily due to change in products and services that we now demand and use. The 'old stuff' is no longer acceptable. What was once considered perfectly normal and meekly adhered to, like say queuing up to buy milk from a booth, or accept a token and wait for you to be called, to encash a cheque, is today taboo. In fact looking back, those times almost seem barbaric. Barbaric simply because the Indian consumer was denied the use of products and services; even those that would just let him live his life with dignity. Ask me how it feels being pushed around as a child, standing in endless queues trying buy goods for daily use.

The black n yellow taxis form a part of that world and today they are on their way out. Is this part of passing of an era? Sure is. Am I shedding tears? Isn't the answer obvious?

The taxi business of today is becoming increasingly the domain of corporates with the resources and ability to meet the expectations of a demanding public. This business is worth some Rs 9,000 crore with a total of 2,35,000 taxis plying the country’s roads. The organised market for personal ground transportation currently makes up only 9% of the total business, but is seen taking a majority of the market-share in about five years.

Taxi companies too are also giving drivers a makeover and insisting on proper grooming and etiquette — a clean-shaven look is a must, eating betel-nut on duty is prohibited and drivers undergo a detailed pre-recruitment process during which their personal histories and habits are put through the scanner.

Well, what can I say other than more power to the Indian consumer! And its about time!



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