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Old 5th August 2013, 22:35   #1
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Default Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

It had to happen sometime. The Premier Padmini, although long gone from any production plant, still plied heartily in the form of no-nonsense black-yellow taxis in Mumbai, its last home.

Now, its gone. A new rule that disallows vehicles greater than 20 years from plying has signalled the end of the Padmini.

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In fact, on a recent trip to Mumbai, I did ride in a Padmini taxi - albeit to mixed feelings: I remember better experiences of the Padmini we had in the family while growing up. Whether this paradox was due to the high levels of refinement we are used to in a modern car, or that a car back during the closed economy was an aspirational symbol which felt luxurious as a result - or both, is a rather difficult answer choice to make!

Anyway, here's wishing the Padmini rests in peace.
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Old 5th August 2013, 22:58   #2
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

Banning vehicles of a certain age is not an ideal way to get rid of air pollution. Since there are only 9000 of these on the road, it would have been a good idea to have a test for pollution on these cars and allow all those cars that pass the test to continue to ply on the road. The rest could either be scrapped or overhauled so they pass the test.

But, obviously, we're in India, and we all know too well how most vehicles 'pass' the test here, and what happens once these vehicle are back on the road (purposeful fuel adulteration) so I'm not really sure there could have been a better way.

Btw, are we sure all of these taxis are being scrapped or are most of them going to end up doing duty in tier-II cities?
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Old 6th August 2013, 00:04   #3
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Banning vehicles of a certain age is not an ideal way to get rid of air pollution. Since there are only 9000 of these on the road, it would have been a good idea to have a test for pollution on these cars and allow all those cars that pass the test to continue to ply on the road. The rest could either be scrapped or overhauled so they pass the test.

But, obviously, we're in India, and we all know too well how most vehicles 'pass' the test here, and what happens once these vehicle are back on the road (purposeful fuel adulteration) so I'm not really sure there could have been a better way.

Btw, are we sure all of these taxis are being scrapped or are most of them going to end up doing duty in tier-II cities?
As Mary Shmich once wrote, on advice and nostalgia: "Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth."

I drove behind one of them this evening and realized that apart from being something that was a part of my childhood, the premier padmini deserves to fade away.

They're slow, in most cases poorly maintained and a hazard. Rarely seen with brake lights, indicators or mirrors, most times these cabs are a menace to the safety of other motorists.

Also, the monsoons see plenty of them break down and block up traffic. Maybe stick one or two of them in a museum but on the roads, taxi passengers, drivers and other motorists deserve better.
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Old 6th August 2013, 00:07   #4
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

I guess it had to happen someday.

I wish the so called 'Garden City' will follow suit & get rid of the smoke-belching 2-stroke autorickshaws

Last edited by Mpower : 6th August 2013 at 18:07.
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Old 6th August 2013, 00:11   #5
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

Its gonna be sad seeing the old taxis go! i just hope they dont increase the fare now since there will be newer taxis!
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Old 6th August 2013, 00:14   #6
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I guess it had to happen someday.

I with the so called 'Garden City' will follow suit & get rid of the smoke-belching 2-stroke autorickshaws
That will almost never happen. The politicians need the votes of these guys, and they'll be attacked from all sides if they scrap the two-stroke autos.
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Old 6th August 2013, 00:45   #7
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That will almost never happen. The politicians need the votes of these guys, and they'll be attacked from all sides if they scrap the two-stroke autos.
Well, the politics behind such decisions are a major road block. But we did overcome it in Kolkata. The implementation took a lot longer but finally the hammer did come down on the 2 stroke autos. But we still have the grand old Indian work horse, Ambis, doing duty as the choice of cabbies.
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Old 6th August 2013, 07:09   #8
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

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Originally Posted by Burn_out View Post
Well, the politics behind such decisions are a major road block. But we did overcome it in Kolkata. The implementation took a lot longer but finally the hammer did come down on the 2 stroke autos. But we still have the grand old Indian work horse, Ambis, doing duty as the choice of cabbies.
Amby will chug on and will never be out of circulation. Not with it having bagged the tag of "One of the best taxi rides in the world" now . Personally, I feel the Padmini has done it's dues and was quite successful in doing so. One of the most comfortable and utility value model the Indian auto industry has seen on its roads. Pity that the company was not able to make the model immortal like the 'Philip Morris' a.k.a. Amby. From a taxi user point of view, I'm relieved and thank god for the merciful law which made the Padminis go out of the Mumbai streets.
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Old 6th August 2013, 07:17   #9
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

The thread's title should rather be "Mumbai's Premier Padmini Taxis: The End".

Mumbai still has the best collection of Classic Fiats and Premier Padmini and surely the roads of Mumbai will never feel dry of Fiats/ Padminis'.
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Old 6th August 2013, 13:17   #10
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

One of the reasons, this news has not saddenned me as much as it should is because, most of these taxi's ceased to be a representation of the delightful Fiat 1100D car. Infact, I have been told numerous occasion when people see my 1100D that they have been in a similar taxi recently in Mumbai/Bombay and the less than pleasant experiences.

Even regarding Amby's, ride an older taxi vs a new one, the difference is apparent. But ride a personally owned and maintained old Amby and the difference of refinement in the experiece with a older commercially used/taxi is immediately apparent.

The moral of the story is, when people use these vehicles for commercial purposes, they dont really care about the damage they do by poor and improper upkeep, as long as they keep earning from it.
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Old 6th August 2013, 13:33   #11
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

Just curious to know, have the taxi unions in Mumbai not protested this drastic move?? What happens to the thousands of drivers who depend on these cars for their livelihood?? They ought to be phasing out the taxis gradually by allowing newly registered (modern) vehicles to slowly replace the outgoing generations, a bit like how the green colored LPG autorickshaws have now slowly taken over the Bangalore auto scene from their 2-stroke petrol/kerosene counterparts.
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Old 6th August 2013, 13:49   #12
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

There seems to be contradictory information over here.

If cars more than 20years old are not be registered again, then there will still be some Premier Padminis still around. IIRC the Padmini production stopped only when PAL stopped production in 2000 or 2001 due to labour issues. Thus there are still likely to be some Padmini taxis which were manufactured between 1993 and 2001.

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....it would have been a good idea to have a test for pollution on these cars and allow all those cars that pass the test to continue to ply on the road. The rest could either be scrapped or overhauled so they pass the test....
I dont think there is the possibility that any of these taxis could possibly meet BSIV norms of today. BS norms appeared only in the year 2000, just before the production of Padminis stopped.

Also, I dont think anything less than an engine transplant could make these cars meet the BSIV norms.

So there really is no other option other than scrapping them altogether.
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Old 6th August 2013, 14:55   #13
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

You want to see the older Fiats, locally known as "Dukkurs" with the door opening the wrong way? Just head to one of the Parsi colonies in Bombay - either Dadar or Colaba - you will definitely see a few and they are far better maintained than the rusted, musky Padminis plying the roads. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say.
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Old 6th August 2013, 17:04   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
Just curious to know, have the taxi unions in Mumbai not protested this drastic move??
This point, even I am curious as to why they have not protested yet. I had thought there would be loud protests with the unions demanding they be given new taxis in exchange for scrapping the existing vehicles. But I guess most of these drivers might have already migrated to Santros and WagonRs and Altos as taxis.

O.T: Yesterday night in the news (ABP mazha channel, regional marathi) they were showing a news article about these Padmini taxis. A melodramatic documentary with sad music playing and drivers stating they earn ~300-400 a day with these cars. They also showed a few cars being scrapped. The scrap dealers were literally cutting through the roof with hammers and chisels! These media persons, I tell you; they know perfectly how to twist a story ...

In the end I feel what has happened is for good.
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Old 6th August 2013, 17:57   #15
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Default re: Premier Padmini Taxis in Mumbai: End of the Road

Yes the Nostalgic Premier Padmini taxi is as good as gone but this was bound to happen. When there are better & comfortable vehicles ferrying passengers at the same price, I think this a commuter friendly decision.

I for one do not flag down a premier padmini taxi. I wait till i get a modern car like Santro / Wagon R / Estilo etc.

Premier could have continued producing the padmini by revamping the interiors / engine and make it a more modern car. This would cater to all nostalgic fans.
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