In the same way that yellow cabs are symbols of New York City, black and yellow Fiat taxis are emblems of Mumbai. There is almost always one available to flag down, making Mumbai taxis a convenient form of road transport. For air conditioned traveling, call in advance to book a private taxi.
Black and Yellow Taxis
Getting a taxi
You’ll see black and yellow taxis all over the city. The only way to tell if one is occupied or not is by peering inside to see if there are passengers inside or not. You cannot call in advance to book a black and yellow cab, unless you happen to have the personal mobile number of a driver. You can flag one down by sticking your arm out in the air and waving your hand up and down.
Explaining where you are going
By law, a black and yellow taxi driver cannot refuse a fare, though sometimes taxi drivers do refuse you anyway if your trip is out of their way. For this reason, try to get inside the cab first and then state where you are going. Most drivers can understand some English but do not speak too much English. If it’s a location that doesn’t have a well-known landmark nearby, it might help to bring a map with you. If you seem to be getting further away from where you are going rather than closer, ask the driver to stop and ask for directions.
Full Day Hire and Commuting
Taxis can also be hired for a few hours or a full day. If you have a regular commute, you could also arrange to be picked up at pre-appointed timings. To arrange this, you’ll need to speak with the taxi driver in person, which can be difficult as most have limited English language skills. Have someone who knows the local language help you out. You will have to negotiate a rate with the driver depending on your itinerary.
All taxis have a manual meter, which has to be reset at the start of the journey. It’s important to know that traditional black and yellow cab meters are outdated and each driver carries a meter conversion card for fare calculation. The initial charge is Rs 19 for the first 1.5 kilometers.
In 2007, rates were lowered for long distance journeys. Some cabbies have retained conversion cards from 2000 to yield a higher fare, so check to see the card is current. Occasionally drivers try to negotiate a fare without using a conversion card at all. Do not get swayed; look for another cab instead.
Occasionally, drivers will state a price before he starts driving, and you can be sure this is an inflated cost. Make sure the driver goes by the meter and the conversion card.
- From midnight until 5:00 am there is a 25 percent fare surcharge.
- Oversized luggage is charged at Rs 10 each.
- Tipping is not required.
For detailed information on taxi fares in Mumbai, visit India Taxi Auto Fare.
The maximum number of passengers is three to four in the back seat and one in the passenger seat.
Safety and Comfort
Unfortunately, seat belts are not mandatory. Most standard taxis do not have seat belts, and they definitely do not have car seats for babies. Traditional taxis are not air conditioned.
Some locals say that women should be careful traveling alone in taxis, particularly at night. If you are a solo woman traveler, consider taking a rickshaw as it would be easier to hop out of a rickshaw than a taxi if you had to. Or, try to book a private taxi to be on the safe side. (See below)
To travel more comfortably, choose a private, air conditioned taxi. These cabs are equipped with digital, tamper-proof meters, seat belts, and perhaps a GPS. Private taxis are a little more expensive but well worth the extra rupees if you like air conditioning. The drawback is that it’s harder to be spontaneous – you can’t hail an A/C cab. Call at least one hour in advance to book a trip. An English-speaking person will answer the phone, though the drivers themselves probably won’t be very proficient in English.
Phone: 4422 4422
Blue-green colored Maruti Esteem cars. Rs 27 for the first kilometer, Rs 20 for subsequent kilometers. Book an hour ahead. Can book online.
Phone: 4242 4242
Rs 27 for the first kilometer, Rs 20 for subsequent kilometers. Book at least five hours in advance. Can’t book for a full day. Online booking available. Also provides car rentals.
Mumbai Gold Cabs
Phone: 3244 3333 or 3244 9999
All vehicles have GPS. Can pay money in advance each month if you are a member. Book two or three hours in advance. Can book for a full day. Special service for disabled and for transporting kids to and from school. Can book online.
Priyadarshini Taxi Service
Booking number is +91-9820221107 or +91-9320845064. Landline number is +(91)-(22)-43333999 or +(91)-(22)-66608779.
All women taxi drivers for the safety and comfort of female travelers. Nice, air conditioned vehicles.