The Iconic Kaali Peeli taxi also known as Padmini taxis is at the end of the road. The Indo-Italian model is finally going to terminate its services in June 2020.
Three decades of rule
Mumbai authorities had bought the Fiat 1100 in the year the 1960s. In fact, it was bought over the bulkier Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador, which was then very popular in Kolkata and Delhi. With the production had stopped in 2000, there are fewer than 50 of them stumbling around awaiting their retirement in June 2020.
The Fiat 1100 Delight debuted in the year 1964. By the year 1974, it was named Premier Padmini- named after the legendary Indian queen. Precisely, in the 90s the taxi trade took in a storm as 63,200 such taxis were registered with the transport department.
Giving way to other cars
With having enough luggage space and also having a carrier above, the Kaali Peeli taxi was the priority for the visitors landing at the airport. “It was like a family car where everyone would fit in easily. The front seat was a long one like seats of present-day taxis and could accommodate three including the driver. You never felt cramped in these taxis,” said a taxi driver.
“For any trip, I would go for a Padmini Taxi as these drivers were excellent navigators. They knew every road and colony in the island city and neighborhoods and I never had to look up any Google map,” a resident recalled.
Serving the citizens for nearly three decades, the Padmini model has now given way to other car versions. Models like Santro took the lead with 80% share for Kaali Peeli taxis while WagonRs took 10%, i10s 4% and the rest are covered by Eecos, Omnis, Altos, Ritzs, etc.