Businessman Boby Chemmanur who brought football legend Diego Marodana to Kerala, is again in the news for converting his Rolls Royce Phantom car into a tourist taxi.
Chemmanur told IANS: "I used to have a fleet of vehicles including Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Range Rover and other premium vehicles. As a person who always interacts with people during my business trips across the state as well as outside, I found people looking in awe at my Rolls Royce Phantom. That is how the idea came to me. Why not convert this into a tourist taxi?"
The Rolls Royce Phantom is a premium car and to convert it into a tourist taxi it was painted golden and the with Boby Chemmanur brand drawn into it. Then it was included in the fleet of vehicles under the Boby Tours and Travel group, a division of the Boby Chemmanur group.
The car has a yellow number plate which is used for taxi services and the one-day charge for using it is a princely Rs 25,000. Chemmanur said that the car was initially used for those who stayed at his Oxygen Resort in Munnar. "We had just commenced operations when Covid struck. Now I will be popularising this. We are charging Rs 50,000 for a wedding and we have already got several bookings since travelling in a Phantom car worth Rs 9.5 crore is an experience that young couples cherish."
Sajeev Thomas, for instance, who stayed at Oxygen resort, Munnar and got picked up, dropped and went for sightseeing in this car. "It's an experience my family will never forget. I shelled out Rs 25,000 but it was a dream come true for the family including my eight and eleven year old boys."
Chemmanur said that there are several bookings for the car for marriage functions and the tour division of the company is chalking out the package details including stay arrangements and honeymoon trips.
The group has also commenced a helicopter services from Ernakulam to Munnar and Chemmanur said that he has chartered helicopters taken on rent which will ply the tourists. Added Sasidharan Nair PR, a retired Deputy Chief Engineer with Kerala works department: "My daughter's marriage is fixed for next month and we are booking the Rolls Royce Phantom. My daughter and prospective son-in-law are excited as well as the entire family since it will be a different experience. We will be in the news just for this."