Where are Uber reps? Transport officials clueless

The State government may have decided to ban Uber in Bengaluru in accordance with the “advisory” issued by the Union government but the transport department is largely unaware of how the US-based cab booking firm operates in the City.

Last weekend, a woman accused an Uber driver of raping her in the cab in Delhi. The incident resulted in nationwide public outrage and forced the government to clamp down on Uber.

In Bengaluru, however, the transport department has not even established contact with Uber officials. On Tuesday, at a meeting held by the transport commissioner and his police counterpart, many aggregate taxi operators were present but Uber officials were conspicuous by their absence.

Transport Commissioner Ramegowda told Deccan Herald, “We tried to contact the Uber officials on Tuesday for the meeting on the available contact details but there was no reply. On Wednesday, the Uber office was found shut down. We have also sought police help in this matter.”

Incidentally, Uber had launched its India operations in Bengaluru in October 2013 and its officials had said the company did not own any vehicle and that it was only an aggregate operator.

One reason for the transport department being unaware of how Uber operates in Bengaluru is the fact that the company does not own any vehicle and even the taxi operators attached to it display no stickers or logos.

This is in gross violation of one of the 25 rules in the Motor Vehicles Act, which clearly states that any taxi with a city permit has to put a yellow board of ‘City Taxi’ and be connected to a control room authorised by the Regional Transport Authority.

“The fact that Uber has been operating in the City for over a year without following the mandatory guidelines under the MV Act clearly shows how callous transport officials are,” said a traditional taxi operator owning a fleet of over 100 luxury cabs.

On Wednesday, taxis belonging to Ola and Taxi For Sure, which are also aggregate taxi operators, did business as usual. Although the department had announced it will start checking taxis on Wednesday, officials claimed they were busy dealing with 40 overloaded lorries that arrived from Chennai in violation of the permissible load limit. As a result, just about a dozen taxis could be checked during the day, they said.

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