Heartbreaking Farewell: Mumbai bids adieu to its beloved 'Kaali Peeli' Premier Padmini taxi
Mumbai's ‘Premier Padmini’ taxis won't be seen in the city from October 30. These black-and-yellow taxis will now bow out from Mumbai's streets, following the path of retirement recently taken by the BEST's legendary red double-decker diesel buses.
A transport department official said the last Premier Padmini was registered as a black-and-yellow taxi at the Tardeo RTO, which has jurisdiction over the island city of Mumbai. As the age limit for cabs in the city is 20 years, Mumbai officially won’t have a Premier Padmini taxi from Monday onwards.
Prabhadevi resident Abdul Kareem Karsekar, who owns the last registered Premier Padmini taxi in Mumbai, said, “Yeh Mumbai ki shaan hai aur hamari jaan hai (it is the pride of Mumbai and life of mine)."
This transition came shortly after the phasing out of the last iconic diesel-powered double-decker buses in the fleet of public transporter Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking due to the end of their 15-year coral life.
The retirement of two once-ubiquitous and crucial modes of public carriers in a matter of weeks has left Mumbai’s transportation enthusiasts heavy-hearted, with some demanding that at least one ‘Premier Padmini’ be preserved on the road or in a museum.
A few years ago, the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, one of the biggest taxi driver unions in the city, had petitioned the government to preserve at least one kaali-peeli, but without any success, PTI reported.
Pradeep Palav, a Parel resident and art lover, said nowadays Premier Padmini taxis can only be seen in murals on walls in Mumbai. Though it has slowly vanished, it has conquered a place in people’s imagination and hearts, he said.
“Presently, we have scores of car models as taxis, but when it comes to painting a taxi only the black-and-yellow Premier Padmini pops up in our mind, as it ruled Mumbai's streets for almost five decades and gave a face or identity to the city’s taxis," Palav said.
Mumbai now has over 40,000 black-and-yellow cabs, though, in the late ’90s, it had about 63,000 of them, including the air-conditioned “cool cabs" with their distinctive ‘blue and silver’ color scheme.