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Goodbye Kaali-Peeli: Mumbai’s Iconic Premier Padmini Taxis Exit the Streets.

Starting from Monday, October 30, Mumbai’s iconic ‘Premier Padmini’ taxis no longer grace the city’s streets. They are following a recent trend of retirement, similar to the legendary red double-decker diesel buses operated by BEST. The decision is rooted in the transport department’s regulations, which stipulate that black-and-yellow Premier Padmini taxis must retire when they reach 20 years of service. Consequently, as of Monday, the city will officially bid farewell to this beloved taxi model.

An Iconic Presence in Mumbai

These iconic Premier Padmini taxis have been an integral part of Mumbai’s transportation landscape, with their distinctive black-and-yellow color scheme. They have been synonymous with the city’s streets for nearly five decades, effectively personifying Mumbai’s taxi culture. In their heyday in the late 1990s, Mumbai boasted around 63,000 black-and-yellow cabs, including the popular air-conditioned “cool cabs” adorned in a unique blue and silver livery.

Nostalgia Sets In

The retirement of the Premier Padmini taxis closely follows the phasing out of the last remaining diesel-powered double-decker buses, once a ubiquitous presence in Mumbai, operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking. This rapid succession of retirements has left transportation enthusiasts in Mumbai feeling nostalgic and somewhat disheartened.

A Plea for Preservation

Some have even called for the preservation of at least one ‘Premier Padmini’ taxi, whether on the road or in a museum. In the past, the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, one of the city’s prominent taxi driver unions, made a plea to the government to preserve a kaali-peeli, but regrettably, their efforts yielded no success.

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