K'taka tightens norms for taxi operators

K'taka tightens norms for taxi operators

The Karnataka Transport Department on Tuesday made it mandatory for aggregate taxi operators to obtain permits and register themselves with the department.

The government decision follows accusations by a woman in Delhi that she was raped in a cab recently.

Besides, getting a police verification for the driver of a taxi/cab will henceforth be one of the 25 conditions laid down by the department for a permit.

The Bengaluru Police will conduct verification for all the cab or taxi drivers in the City by December 31. 

The new rule for registering a taxi operator with the department specifically aims at bringing the aggregation model of taxi operations followed by Ola, Taxi For Sure, Uber and other operators under the ambit of the Transport Department.

These companies do not own the vehicles they operate. They work through web-based applications and software. They claim that the responsibility and onus of getting a permit lies with the cab drivers and not with them.

There are 11 operators using the aggregation model and 71,245 cabs and taxis registered in the state. Of them, 3,539 have City taxi permits. However, officials say that out of the 71,000 cabs registered with state permits, many are plying as City taxis in violation of rules.

On Tuesday, Transport Commissioner Rame Gowda and Police Commissioner M N Reddi held a two-hour meeting with representatives of several taxi operators, including Taxi For Sure, Ola, Carzonrent, Zoomcar, Cabzindia, Pravasi Cabs, Yatrigenie, Bidal Taxi, Easy Cabs, the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association and autorickshaw unions.

However, several “attempts” by the Transport Department to contact Uber officials in the City for the meeting were futile.

Reddi said: “The police, along with the Transport Department, will conduct joint checking of taxis and cabs more seriously. The Transport Department has issued instructions for both traditional cab operators and aggregation-model operators. The driver and the vehicle must comply with these instructions to avoid police action against them.”

Rame Gowda said: “We are not fixing any deadline for taxi operators to obtain permits; they have to get them at the earliest. However, we will start enforcing a drive on the taxis from Wednesday. If the operators do not seek permit, we will check their cabs on road and penalise them. They will have to pay Rs 1,000 if caught the first time and Rs 2,000 a second time. The third time, the permit will be cancelled.”

Meanwhile, when contacted by Deccan Herald, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee, who is in Belagavi, said his office was yet to receive any communication from the Home Ministry to consider banning Internet-based taxi services.

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