India’s disappearing taxis

The Premier Padmini was manufactured in India by Premier Automobiles from 1964 to 2000.

The vehicle quickly became the iconic workhorse in Mumbai's fleet of black and yellow taxis until economic liberalization in the 1990s which allowed other models to be produced in India. Local media estimates put Mumbai's current taxi fleet at about 51,000 vehicles, of which it is estimated that about 8,000 vehicles are over 25 years old.

With a government order banning taxis over 25 years old, the number of Premier Padmini taxis has begun to dwindle and, in a few years, they will be gone from Mumbai's streets altogether.

A Premier Padmini taxi travels along Marine Drive in Mumbai. ? Photo by Reuters
A Premier Padmini taxi travels along Marine Drive in Mumbai. ? Photo by Reuters
Drivers and mechanics of Premier Padmini taxis gather together at a workshop. ? Photo by Reuters
Drivers and mechanics of Premier Padmini taxis gather together at a workshop. ? Photo by Reuters
A driver demonstrates the use of a manually operated fare meter on his taxi. ? Photo by Reuters
A driver demonstrates the use of a manually operated fare meter on his taxi. ? Photo by Reuters
A taxi driver inspects the engine of his taxi at a taxi park. ? Photo by Reuters
A taxi driver inspects the engine of his taxi at a taxi park. ? Photo by Reuters
Scrapped fare meters from taxis lie in a pile at a scrap yard. ? Photo by Reuters
Scrapped fare meters from taxis lie in a pile at a scrap yard. ? Photo by Reuters
A de-registered Premier Padmini taxi is pictured covered in dust with love hearts etched on its windows at the scrap yard. ? Photo by Reuters
A de-registered Premier Padmini taxi is pictured covered in dust with love hearts etched on its windows at the scrap yard. ? Photo by Reuters
A mechanic uses a wire brush to scrub the inside of his taxi before it is refurbished at a workshop. ? Photo by Reuters
A mechanic uses a wire brush to scrub the inside of his taxi before it is refurbished at a workshop. ? Photo by Reuters
A taxi driver takes an afternoon nap next to his taxi in. ? Photo by Reuters
A taxi driver takes an afternoon nap next to his taxi in. ? Photo by Reuters
A driver takes a break in his taxi. ? Photo by Reuters
A driver takes a break in his taxi. ? Photo by Reuters
A driver waits for customers in front of an apartment building. ? Photo by Reuters
A driver waits for customers in front of an apartment building. ? Photo by Reuters

Comments (5) (Closed)


just_someone
Oct 17, 2012 03:38am
Such a shame. As a Pakistani who hasnt been to India, every picture of Bombay streets that I remember growing up had this iconic car/taxi in it. I can only imagine they are an integral part of history for Indians and a sight that most Indian diaspora recall fondly just like I remmeber the little things of Karachi.
Sandy
Oct 16, 2012 08:04pm
Its such a pity padmini cars are soon going to be a thing of past.
Virkaul
Oct 17, 2012 07:39am
Old things have to make way for the new. In the 60s India manufactured 3 cars, namely, Ambassador, Fiat/Padmini and Standard (Herald, 10 & 8). Standard Herald which resembled Triumph closed down in Madras. Premier Automobiles that manufactured sold it's plant to FIAT, Italy. Since then most car manufacturers are in India selling Their products. Current automobiles are so reliable and fuel efficient that Padmini or Ambassador weren't. Moreover, they are available off the shelf and at affordable prices.
Paras Dilliwaala
Oct 16, 2012 05:13pm
Thanks, Dawn!
Ninad
Oct 16, 2012 04:46pm
These photographs really really really making me nostalgic. I very closely know how this Premier Padmini is associated with Mumbaikars... No any India newpaper put such a nice pictures and very touching one!! Thank you so much Dawn.. you made my day!!!!!