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After double-decker buses, Mumbai's iconic 'Kaali-Peeli' taxis go off road: Here's why

This iconic Kaali-Peeli taxi has completed 20 years running on roads of Mumbai.

Edited By: Pranav Sawant

Published: Oct 30, 2023, 02:10 PM IST

Kaali Peeli Taxi, Premier Padmini
Kaali Peeli Taxi, Premier Padmini

Story Highlights

  • Iconic 'Kaali-Peeli' taxis are going off Mumbai's roads today.
  • The vintage commute vehicle has completed 20 years.
  • These iconic Kaali-Peeli taxis are Premier Padmini vehicles launched by Premier Automobiles Ltd after getting license from Fiat.

After more than a month of phasing out the iconic double-decker buses in Mumbai, Mumbaikars now bid adieu to another iconic vehicle, the ‘Kaali-Peeli’ taxis. Starting today, the Premier Padmini taxis, well-known as Kalli-Peeli taxis are going off the road. This means that the people of Mumbai won’t be able to commute to work in these vintage taxis anymore.

But why did the Government discontinue the symbolic Kaali-Peeli taxis? As you’d expect, the reason for the same is some-what environmental. The Premier Padmini taxis were registered on 29 October 2003, which is exactly 20 years ago.

The Maharastra State government has a 20-year age limit for taxis, which is already higher than say other states like Delhi (which has a 15-year set age limit for CNG taxis). After this period, these old vehicles can be harmful to the environment. They produce polluting gases and contribute to climate change negatively.

Having said that, despite being a vintage beauty and a symbolic commute vehicle for Mumbaikars, the Kaali-Peeli taxis have now been discontinued.

Social media has mixed reactions to this, some people are disappointed saying the ‘charm of Bombay’ is fading away, while others recognize that phasing them out was necessary for the environment.

Mahindra Group’s Chairman, Anand Mahindra, also posted on X (formerly Twitter) saying how he feels about the Kaali-Peeli taxis going off road. He stated ‘Goodbye and alvida, keeli-peeli taxis’ in his X post. He also mentioned how these taxis became noisy and uncomfortable over the years.

It is worth noting that these iconic taxis ran on the roads of Mumbai for over 6 decades. Also, several Bollywood films featured these taxis, mainly to introduce the city. All of this made the Kali-Peeli a memorable commute vehicle for everyone.

But did you know that Premier Padmini wasn’t the taxi’s original name? Mumbai’s taxi journey began back in 1964 with the model Fiat-1100 Delight. However in the 1970s, the taxi was renamed to Premier President, it was then rebranded as Premier Padmini. The name came from the 14th Mewar princess, Padmavati. Premier Automobiles Ltd (PAL) under the license from Fiat, launched these vehicles in the country. Hence there’s ‘PAL’ written on the steering wheel.

The Premier Padmini had a 4-cylinder 1100cc engine and a gear shifter just behind the steering wheel.

It is to be noted that only Premier Padmini taxis won’t be visible in Mumbai, but the other black and yellow taxis like Santro and Eeco vans will still be available for commuting in Mumbai.

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Author Name | Pranav Sawant


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