New and attractive, several Maruti Swift Dzire cars have slid into Chennai airport, replacing the conventional Ambassador taxis.

Of the over 300 Ambassador prepaid taxis at the airport, nearly 70 have now been replaced with the Swift Dzire-2, said C. Murugesan, joint secretary of the Chennai Airport Prepaid Taxi Owners-Drivers Association.

“With financial aid from Mahindra Finance, Khivraj Motors and State Bank of India, our drivers bought these vehicles on loans. It is a wise decision to switch to the new cars, as the old Ambassadors cost a lot in terms of repairs and renewal of documents and also don’t fetch us expected returns,” he said.

Mr. Murugesan added that the rest of the drivers too, could soon opt for the newer vehicles, as they were bound to attract more customers.

“Up until last year, we were doing all right. But in the last three months, business has been really down. We get barely two or three customers a day. With these new air-conditioned vehicles, we will definitely get more interested customers,” he added.

Delhi Babu, 47, a taxi driver who has just purchased a Swift Dzire-2 said, “Already, I have seen a marked difference in the number of customers. Also, the passengers say they prefer this new car to the old Ambassador.” A senior Airports Authority of India official said these vehicles have been specially designed to cater to the need of taxi drivers as they have more luggage space.

Vasudevan Lakshmanan, a passenger said, “Since the Ambassadors are not air-conditioned I would not want to take them, especially in this heat. I prefer the new cars as they have comfortable seats and more leg room.”

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