Of sleek cabs and stereos in Aizawl

By Sangzuala Hmar, IANS

Aizawl : The northeastern state of Mizoram may be located in an isolated mountainous terrain, but its capital Aizawl could be a treat for enthusiasts of latest car gadgets and stereos fitted into sleek cabs.

Support TwoCircles

It would cost just Rs.10 for a passenger to choose his brand of new cars – flag down a taxi or call an operator to send you a cab, and zoom comes a brand new Santro, an Alto, Tata Indigo, or a Matiz.

The fleet of cabs in downtown Aizawl could perhaps boast of one of the most modern and well-maintained cars in India – there are an estimated 2,800 taxis in Aizawl, a picturesque city with a little over 200,000 people.

“I spent Rs.25,000 alone for an Alpine audio system in my car just to attract passengers,” said Chhuanliana, a 32-year-old taxi driver-cum-owner.

Like many other taxis, Chhuanliana’s car has a double cushioned seat with a leather cover worth Rs.5,000.

Zorema, the proprietor of a leading car accessories shop in the city, said: “To attract passengers there is heavy competition, especially among the taxi owners, to install the latest and costliest audio systems. So far this year, I have already installed about 30 latest audio systems in different cabs.”

About 40 percent of taxis are owner driven with the cabs affiliated to the Zoram Taxi Owners’ Association (ZTOA).

“People here never take taxi driving as a career option or employment,” said Zorama, president of ZTOA, noting that cab driving was more of a passion than just a regular job.

“Our idea is to ensure that the city gets a good taxi service, with friendly and polite drivers, not only for the locals but also for people coming from other states.”

Despite the modern gizmos fitted to the taxis, the standard fare has been kept at an affordable price so that even the middle class can take a ride.

“I take a 45-minute taxi ride to office daily as I enjoy the peppy Mizo rap numbers played by the cabbie,” Zoramthangi, a government employee pointed out.

Upkeep and cleanliness are other highlights of the Aizawl taxis.

“On an average we get about 25 taxis daily at our servicing station,” said an owner of a car wash unit. “Most of my customers, who come here for car service, are very particular about keeping their cabs neat and tidy.”

A taxi driver earns on an average Rs.2,500 per month, besides Rs.100 per day bonus during festivals. If you are in Aizawl, better not miss a taxi ride.