Hail and farewell to Bombay's iconic taxis

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A RUSTY old banger, the Fiat Premier Padmini, is the standard taxi of Bombay and one of the city’s enduring icons.

The ubiquitous black and yellow cabs crawl along congested streets, often overloaded with passengers hauling goods short distances at a starting fare of just 13 rupees (15p).

Despite offering a hot and dusty ride, often with a view of the road through gaping holes in the chassis, they are a step up from the crush of the bus or the train.

Now these relics are set for the scrapheap. They may help to define Bombay, but Bombay is trying to redefine itself, and the vehicles are to be replaced with shiny new taxis more befitting a commercial centre with ambitions to rival Singapore and Shanghai.

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