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Lala lajpatrai college

of commerce and

Project on: Industrial law

Topic: B.e.s.t buses and taxi’s

Submitted to:prof. parul mam


Mumbai saw its first bus run on 15th July, 1926.

The people of Mumbai received the bus with
enthusiasm, but it took quite sometime before this
means of conveyance really established itself. For
several years, it was looked upon as transport for
the upper middle classes. Those were the days
when the tram was the poor man’s transport,
carried one all the way from Sassoon Dock to
Dadar for a mere anna and a half, that was nine
paise. The bus fare for the same journey was four
annas, that is 25 paise.
In response to the pleas made by the Government
and the Brihan Mumbai Mahanagarpalika, the
Company extended its services to the northern
part of the city in 1934. Double deck buses were
introduced in 1937 in order to cope better with the
growing traffic. The first Limited Bus service in
Mumbai, and probably the first in the country as
well, started running in 1940 between Colaba and
Thus, the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport
Company was municipalised and came to be
known as Bombay Electric Supply & Transport
Undertaking . The Undertaking has completed 50
years of its municipalisation on 7th August, 1997.


The Taxis arrived in 1911 to complement horse

wagons. The black and yellow Fiat taxis in Mumbai,
are integral part of the city's heritage and have
been depicted in numerous Bollywood movies.
These metered taxis ply throughout Mumbai and
have monopoly from Bandra to Churchgate on the
Western line and Sion to Chatrapati Shivaji
Terminus on the Central line. Beyond Sion and
Bandra auto rickshaws are not allowed and one has
to hire a taxi. However, between Sion to Thane and
Bandra to Bhayandar, Taxis and autorickshaws ply.
A mechnical meter decides the fare and is
proportional to the distance traveled. Number of
taxis (cabs): About 55,000-52,000.
Recently Radio cab services have been introduced
by some private companies. These taxis are brand
new air-conditioned cars fitted with GPS and
electronic metres. Fare is same as that of Cool
Cabs. Presently operated by three companies:
Meru (Green Silver), Gold cabs (Yellow Red) and
Mega cabs (Black). However these taxis need to be
booked in advance by calling their call centre
Recently the police revealed that it is required by
law that the driver of an unengaged taxi take you
to where you want to go, distance and time
regardless. If the driver does not comply, one
simply needs to call the police (dial 100) and
mention the taxi's license number and the driver's
name. The act of calling the police on your cell
phone usually makes the driver comply with your
request to be taken to your destination.
Study on the issue of taxi drivers, taxi
owners and cab unions in Mumbai.

1. Taxi-Drivers versus Taxi-Owners.

Through the survey, it has become possible
distinguish between taxi-drivers and taxi-owners.
The ones with khaki uniforms are mostly taxi
drivers i.e. working for those who own the taxis,
whereas those who wear white are essentially taxi
owners and they drive their own taxis or have
many taxis, drive just one and the other taxis are
driven by the employed drivers. There are many
occasions when the taxi drivers feel that unionism
does not really benefit them much as much it
benefits the taxi-owners since they are the ones
who really approach the unions for loans while
buying a new taxi or bulk license renewal. In such
cases the taxi-drivers feel that becoming a
member and the payment of membership is not
worth it as they can do most of the jobs for
themselves. eg, license renewal.

2. Side tracking the main labour related issues.

Some of the taxi drivers did not feel the need to be
belong a union as a union they felt was too
politicized, the leader was an outsider, he was not
aware of the real problems that were facing the
taxi drivers and hence did not really empathize
with them, in the process he ignored the real
problems the taxi-drivers were facing. There were
some cabbies who felt indifferent about the
politicization of unions. Politics they justified was a
part of every activity in this country and hence in
some way or the other politicization was bound to

3. The volte face tendency of unions.

Many times the unions lure the cabbies with false
hopes and promises. They tell them that if they
become members then the union people would get
their work done or provide them with certain
facilities and make sure a law isn’t passed. In many
cases this is just a farce and in reality things don’t
happen the way the cabbies want them to once
they have joined the union. For instance, this year
the Shiv Sena union appealed to taxi drivers in
Mumbai to become members of their union and if
they did then the Sena would make sure that CNG
for taxis would not become compulsory, with this
promise in mind, many of them did join the Sena
union but later on CNG did become compulsory
and many of them felt cheated.

4. Inter-union rivalry
Often rival unions work against each other, thereby
reducing the efficiency of the labour movement. At
times the rivalry shows up in each union adopting
contrary strategies and thereby the entire group of
taxi-men loses out. At other times, the rivalry takes
a violent turn, causing damage to life and property.
In the Asian Age (30th December, 2002), it was
reported that two rival unions (the City-Taxi-men's
Union and the Bharatiya Taxi Chalak Sangh) fought
over which would ferry passengers from the
domestic and international airports. The violence
that erupted caused at least ten taxi drivers to get
physically hurt.


Out of the 30 cabbies, 66.67 percent of those
interviewed belonged to a union. While the
remaining 33.33 percent were not union members.
Those who did not belong to a union had strong
opinions as to why they did not belong to a union.
The following are some the reasons why cabbies
would prefer not belonging to a union:
Unions they felt charged money for tasks which
could be easily done individually, example license

Union membership fees sometimes were not

affordable to the cabbies

Most of them felt that the unions were benefiting

mainly taxi-owners and not those who were
working for the owners i.e. the taxi-drivers in the
real sense.

Inspite of this it appears that most cabbies in

Mumbai do belong to a union and that’s because
union membership makes a life little easier in
serious legal matters in case of accidents and
license renewal problems. Thus it is proved from
the survey analysis that most of the cabbies belong
to a union as they were aware of the fact that
unionism is essential for them and that’s why they
choose to belong to a union.

Strike by best buses

The Bus service in Mumbai, or Brihanmumbai Electric
Supply and Transport undertaking (BEST), is on strike
again, causing chaos and a lot of inconvenience to the 30
lakh bus commuters who use the service daily. This is not
something rare or unusual in Mumbai, its a familiar
activity where thousands of bus employees go on strike,
demanding a pay hike.

There are over 42,000 BEST employees and 3,500 BEST

buses. So they are one of the lifelines of the city and if
they aren't working, typically means overcrowded trains,
congested roads, taxi drivers demanding more money
from the passenger even for short distances.

Its a nightmare for the working class people which is the

majority of Mumbai's population, migrants from around
the country come to Bombay to fulfill their materialistic
dreams and desires.

BEST union leaders said they were not responsible for the
commuters' plight. "Commuters should ask the BEST
management about this. It is the BEST workers who come
forward and provide undisrupted service to people during
water logging, fire or riots. Our services to the people
should not be forgotten," the general secretary of the
employees union, told IANS.

Agreed, but its the Government who should take notice of

their service and pay them well enough. If you take a look
at the salary structure the bus conductors (the person
who accepts your money and provides you with a ticket)
and drivers get, its appalling. The data is as on March
2004, but not much has changed in the last 3 years, the
BEST site is not updated.
A BEST conductor can get a maximum of Rs 10,737 and a
bus driver Rs 10,909. They work hard too, spend long
hours in crowded buses, they deserve to be paid more. If
that was the case, then there would have been no strike,
no disruption.
Salary Source
Another perspective to the issue, it seems the current
salaries have gone up to Rs 15,000 in 2007, and the BEST
is not really making a profit, according to the audited
financial balance sheet for 2005-06, BEST incurred a net
loss of Rs 178.95 crore.
In the graph below, the green indicates the loss, while the
blue the earnings and red the spendings.

Looks like the BEST needs someone like Lalu, who turned
the loss making Indian Railways into a profitable
The traffic policemen had a tough job due to the
additional amount of cars on the road due, to the strike.
The number of traffic police seemed to be more than
usual due to the chaos on the streets of Bombay.

Due to the increase in private vehicles, rickshaws and

taxis caused by the bus strike, a journey that usually
takes an hour by car, around 20 Km, took two and a half
hours. The peak traffic usually ends at 9 PM was
prevalent even after 10.30 PM.
These strikes will also have a drastic impact on the
environment, with regards to air pollution and global
warming. It seems the strike will be on for atleast 72

Strike by taxis
Taxis started going off the roads after the taxi
drivers’ union announced a flash strike following an
attack on their union's office in central Mumbai on
Thursday morning allegedly by Raj Thackeray's
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists.
"A group of around 20 to 25 activists stormed into
the office of the Bombay Taximen's Union in
central Mumbai and assaulted office members.
They also damaged office furniture and other
equipment," said D A Salian, from the Bombay
Taximen's Union.
The Union immediately called for a flash strike and
said that all taxis would be pulled off roads, he
"The taxis will stay off the roads the whole day and
we will be meeting in the evening to decide future
course of action," he said.
Since Sunday, there were also sporadic instances
of attacks on taxi and auto rickshaws.
On Wednesday evening there were some attacks
on taxi drivers in the suburbs of Malad, Vakola and
Vile Parle, police officials said.
Members of the Union attributed the attack to their
chief A L Quadros' demand that MNS chief Raj
Thackeray should be arrested for the recent
violence against taximen in the city since Sunday.
Quadros, who heads the over 55,000 strong union,
had also demanded compensation for taxi drivers
affected by the violence.
Members of the Union had met Deputy Chief
Minister R R Patil on Wednesday in order to discuss
attacks on taxi drivers, Salian said.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) K L
Prasad on Thursday went to meet Deputy Chief
Minister R R Patil, who also holds the home
portfolio, to discuss the overall law and order
situation in the city.
Police has not yet confirmed who were behind the
attack on the taxi drivers’ union office.
Submitted by:

1. Vaibhav Khicha 891244

2. Kerul Shah 891241
3. Priyank Shah 891262
4. Nikit Sharma 891242
5. Krisha patel 891257
6. Nikita jain 891266

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