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End of an era: Mumbaikars prefer Santro to 'mazboot' Fiat taxi

Mumbai's iconic Premier Padmini taxis are gradually on their way out. About 4000 of the city's remaining Premier Padmini taxis - popularly known as Fiat taxis - will be phased out starting this week following a court order that commercial vehicles more than 20 years old have to be taken off the streets.

Many drivers have driven this car, modelled after the Fiat 1200 GrandLuce Berlina, for two decades say they have an emotional connection to the vehicle.

"I have been driving this vehicle for the last 20 years," Alfred Sequiera, a taxi driver, told Firstpost.

With the exit of Premier Padmini taxis from Mumbai, a part of history will be erased forever. Reuters.

With the exit of Premier Padmini taxis from Mumbai, a part of history will be erased forever. Reuters.

So would he replace his cab with a new Santro or WagonR - the popular models of cars being used as taxis presently?

Sequiera said he can't make the change even if he wanted to.

"I bought my Fiat at 1 lakh 60 thousand rupees. Now I am nearing 60 and no bank will give me a loan of 5 lakhs required to buy the latest model of Santro or WagonR," he said.

Older taxi drivers like Sequiera believe that being a taxi driver is no longer worth it in Mumbai.

"My son has graduated in commerce and is working in a multinational company. I do not want him to follow in my footsteps," he said.

Other taxi drivers, who aren't hanging up their boots, say they should be granted incentives to switch from the old vehicles to news ones.

"The only worry I have is how I am going to repay the loan. The old Fiat, though still sturdy, will not give me any money and will end up in the scrapyard,"Javed Akhtar, another taxi driver, told Firstpost.

Watch our video on the phasing out of the iconic Premier Padmini taxis in Mumbai above.

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