Transport dept got complaints, but 'ignored' them

The Transport Department has been sitting over complaints against web-based taxi services like Uber by activists and radio taxi operators.

The complaints regarding the ‘illegal’ and ‘unregulated’ web-based cab services, banned after the rape controversy, reached the Transport Department as early as April this year.

The department insists that it was “about to” clamp down on such operators.“We had taken cognisance of it in our meeting nearly 10 days ago,” Special Commissioner, Transport, K S Ganger, said.

Association of Radio Taxis, the apex body representing taxi operators in India, claimed that in their letter to the Transport Commissioner, they had flagged another app-based cab service – which took cab bookings without actually having any driver on its rolls, unlike radio taxi operators – for creating unfair competition by charging below the State Transport Authority-approved rates. 

Nearly, 20 such web-based cab operators use to charge up to Rs 3-5 less for every kilometre.

The ‘illegal’ cab operation by cab aggregators such as Uber, Ola, Taxi for Sure, Taxi Pixi, etc. had also been raised by activist Amit Bhargava. In a letter to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on August 4, he had said these technology-driven companies were operating without a permit from the Transport Department.

He has specifically mentioned Uber, the company involved in the recent controversy,

“Uber does not disclose any phone number, email, or postal address in India to contact the company. All that it discloses is a Twitter handle,” his letter said.

The Delhi Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006 also mandates that the vehicle must be fitted with GPS/GPRS-based tracking devices which must be in constant communication with the central control unit while the vehicles are ferrying passengers.

But cabs run by many companies allegedly have no such provision. After the rape in an Uber cab, the Delhi government has banned all web-based taxi sevices. 

Only six radio tax services are now allowed. But three of these six companies too violate government norms.

They don’t have the mandated fleet size of 500 cabs, which they should reach within a year of their starting operations. Chanson Cabs runs 417 cars, Yo Cabs 97 and Air Cabs 100.

For violating this norm, the companies forfeit a security deposit of Rs 15 lakh. Repeated violation can also attract a ban.

But the ban wasn’t imposed despite repeated violations because it could have led to a shortfall of taxis in the city, Ganger said.

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