Consumers taken for a ride as govt fails again on Uber and Ola licence issue

Instead of resolving the issue quickly the authorities are dragging the issue for the last six months

GN Bureau | June 4, 2015


#radio cabs   #app-based cab services   #uber   #ola   #taxi for sure   #transport   #delhi  

All app-based cab services were banned in the national capital after a driver of Uber, the US-based online cab service provider, was accused of raping a 27-year-old financial consultant woman passenger in December last year. Since then the issue of app-based taxi services remains unresolved with the Delhi government on Wednesday rejecting fresh applications for licence by Uber and two other such service providers - Ola and TaxiForSure.

Such delay and inaction affects consumers and raises questions of effective governance in Delhi. The centre and the Delhi government have been fighting over division of power and have even gone to court over the issue. However, the transport woes compounded by the ban of taxi services remains unresolved. 

The applications of the three taxi aggregators were rejected for not filing undertakings stating they were complying with a ban imposed on them. The three operators had filed the applications under the modified Radio Taxi Scheme introduced five months ago.

On May 28, Uber and Ola cabs were asked to provide details like number of vehicles and addresses of their drivers to ensure regularisation of their services but the two operators have complied with the order.

Uber said it will file a fresh application. "While the rejection of our application for a licence under the amended Radio Taxi scheme is unfortunate, we look forward to file a fresh application under a new set of guidelines that are due to be issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways under Section 93 of the Motor Vehicles Act," Uber Delhi GM Gagan Bhatia said in a statement.

The Delhi government in March had approached the Centre to block Web-based apps of Uber, Ola Cabs, and TaxiForSure alleging that these companies were not complying with its ban order imposed on them.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai had earlier made it clear that cab companies would have to stop plying before their applications could be considered for fresh permits. But, why should the service stopped? Is there no middle path that allows operation of taxi services and comply with the government rules?

Delhi government had in December last year modified the Radio Taxi Scheme 2006, making specific guidelines for their operation, which include mandatory installation of GPS devices, a panic button and providing of full database of their drivers to city police.

According to new rules approved by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, radio taxi provider will have to either maintain a call centre or operate through an authorised call center or web portal and they will have to provide such details to the transport department.

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