The car featured is not an Ambassador (Morris Oxford). It’s the Landmaster (Morris Cowley). The Ambassador was the Landmaster’s successor. We used more expensive car and kept the Kolkata Taxi heritage look. This is a stellar demonstration of commitment towards creation of a multicultural society, while celebrating Diversity and Inclusion at it’s highest degree. Our goal is to support trilateral relationship between Australia, India and UK and let people enjoy a part of the automobile heritage. We also wanted to celebrate the grandeur of Kolkata Taxi.
What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow’ — the famous saying by social reformer and freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale is something that Bengalis swear by. This renowned statement is literally proven in today’s topic.This context will deeply oblige every Bengali like me to reminisce his or her heritage Kolkata.
Kolkata, the erstwhile capital of colonial India, is home to over 14 million people is enriched with history, romance and sights of yellow taxi. The yellow taxi is one of the true icons of Kolkata. Whether it be the charming tiny alleys or crowded main streets, Kolkata is littered with yellow Ambassador Taxis.
Nothing says ‘I’m in Kolkata’ like riding in the back of one of this big, yellow Ambassador taxis, the cooling breeze from the open windows bringing with it the whiff of diesel fumes and a mashup of traffic sounds.
The Ambassador Classic taxis have been a mainstay of Kolkata life since they first rolled onto the streets .When it was launched in 1958, modelled on the British Morris Oxford III, Hindustan Motor Ltd’s Ambassador was the undisputed king of the road. Kolkata took to it like hilsa to Ganga. .Though taxi services started in Kolkata as early as 1907, the iconic Ambassador became a standard taxi model only in 1962, providing jobs to many and nurturing the economy.
Built by Hindustan Motors until 20 14, they’ve been called “King of Indian Roads” due to their reliability and prevalence. While thousands still ply the city ’s streets, advancing age, stricter emissions rules and competition from Ola and Uber mean their future is in doubt. That threat inspired Drew Hopper to capture the central role these cabs still play in the fabric of the city.
Integrated with the busy life of Kolkata, this very familiar yellow taxi is going to make its presence known in the world today.It scattered in the alleys of Kolkata but still have attracted foreign tourists as well as high-profile businessmen.
Australian car-loving and businessman Jamie bears that testimony. One thing to mention in this context that since 2015,he have been running Central Black Cab (a London Cab hire service) in Sydney’s ground successfully.
While living in UK he developed an interest in the diverse and colourful Indian culture.The history of Hindustan motors with its British connections, and then followed more photos of the Indian taxis online, he was deeply fascinated with its unique shape and colour along with the decorations and artefacts.
“I thought it would be a fun project and that the car would be popular with Indian population living in Sydney. It would also complement the London black cabs and celebrate the heritage of vintage cars in Australia, India and UK”.
Future planning begins with this thought-provoking formula. He started to collaborate with a number of people from all across India, UK and Australia.
Nita from Deco A Shaan from Sydney was one of those who was sourcing fabrics and decorations. Jamie himself has also collected a lot of artefacts during his India travel to make it more luxurious.
Jamie mentioned that “I recall watching an Episode of the UK TV Programme “Top Gear” which featured a race between the world’s iconic taxis. Participants in the race included the London Black Cab, New York yellow cab, Mexican beetle and an Indian Kolkata Taxi(the Hindustan Ambassador). The Amby eventually won the race and was voted “world’s best taxi”. It is now part of my Australian Bollywood Taxi Collection.”
With this conscious thought in mind, Jamie is always looking for ways to evolve the service, improve experience and create memories for his valued multicultural customers. The main purpose of service is aimed at the growing population of Indian origin and people who love Indian culture. Sydney is blessed with Indian population not only from India but also from Fiji , South Africa and UK. And for many centuries staffs of East India Company and British Raj have settled in Australia, followed by Armenian, Jewish and Anglo Indian population from India. They can, all enjoy a taste of Indian vintage car which has historic, cultural and lifestyle significance.
The master of Bengali culture Indranil Halder says,’ The car is a perfect fit to increase trilateral relationship between Australia, India and UK. It adds formidable style, exceptional grace and highlights the quintessential elegance of old-world Kolkata charm in Sydney. The car establishes a very strong connection between Kolkata and Sydney with its British legacy , Victoria architecture and cultural sophistication. And it got my support.”
It is worth mentioning in the context of detailed discussion that there were numerous challenges for Jamie such as cultural, financial and regulatory but where there is a will, there is a way.
Today,the well-known and somewhat neglected yellow taxi on the streets of Kolkata is about to establish itself as a running vintage car service in Sydney.It’s services will basically include all hire car services- wedding transport, promotions and film hire. The car can also be converted into a Photobooth which can be used as a wedding guestbook, at a birthday party or to promote brands.
According to Jamie, “don’t stop until you are proud” “……with everything that I do, I try to exceed expectations, continuously evolve and just deliver the kind of service, experience and memory, that, I would hope for myself. “
He further mentioned how he would like to attract his patrons. He emphasised that his dream would be to add a New York Checker Cab and Mexican Cab to the Sydney fleet.He is already thinking of seeing his dreams in a bigger way by making these vintage cars more environmentally friendly (and reliable) by converting to electric one day.
In addition to entertaining aristocratic people, Jamie discusses other valued added services, he can provide to the society. He has thought a lot about how such vehicles can be used for the benefit of the society without being confined to a narrow and business boundary.This statement clearly shows that he would very much like to hear from charities and Not For Profits (in particular Animal and environmental related organisations) who feel this car could assist their cause to raise awareness and funds for better tomorrow.
All in all, I have become a little emotional while writing about this context.Kolkata Taxi is deeply involved in everything from my childhood to adolescence to youth.
My appeal to Kolkata-loving Bengalis and Indians to support this initiative for the cultural development of India-Australia and enjoy a great ride in Sydney. When we are in the grip of an epidemic, we can’t go to our loved ones on festive days even if we want to ,this yellow taxi will help us to visit our old memories for a while. This car will make people happy.
I conclude this article by honoring Indranil Haldar’s efforts to strengthen India-Australia bilateral relations, encourage entrepreneurship and highlight multicultural collaboration as he promotes Kolkata Taxi.