13 May 2006
The most conspicuous thing on any mumbai road is the red and yellow Taxi which mumbaikars stylishly prefer to call "Cab" (perhaps influenced by London). Unlike the other metros, Taxis are used not only by the elite but also by the hoi polloi. Someone told me that mumbai taxi fares are the cheapest in the world. Everyone you meet here, definitely has a Taxi horror story but I have yet to come across something really gross. My guess is ( Idont have any statistic) that the average Taxiwala ("cabbie") is from UP or Bihar. What really puzzles me is that the same guy when he is driving an auto( why dont you see taxis in delhi?) in Delhi manages to be rude and threatening to the extent of extortion, in Mumbai a mild person, if rash driver, and will offer you the fare card should you raise an eyebrow at the fare demanded. The safety of Taxi ride particularly in night in mumbai is something of an urban legend. But actually I wanted to write this post about the garish graffiti you get to see at the back of mumbai Taxi. The most prominent is the names of the three most distant corners of the city and then in the centre more ornately is the place where the taxi belongs. It is as if the city is advertising its myriad far flung suburbs to a new comer.