Stop bookings until you register, TaxiForSure told

Stop bookings until you register, TaxiForSure told

The transport department on Tuesday asked the aggregate taxi operator, TaxiForSure (TFS, to halt all bookings for cabs with immediate effect until it registered with the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) and fulfilled all the norms.

The department warned to seize all taxis attached to the company if it does not stop the operations.

Led by Joint Commissioner for Transport, Narendra Holkar, along with RTOs from Jayanagar and Electronics City, a team of the department raided one of the offices of the company for over two hours. Transport officials scrutinised the documents provided by the company, and found various violations in the way the taxi operations were conducted. The foremost violation was that the company was operating without any licence or permit. Accordingly, the department asked it to shut operations.

The department claimed that TFS was unable to give a satisfactory reply as to how it was operating from 2011 without installing the Global Positioning System (GPS) or the approved digital meters in its taxis. Holkar said that even an aggregator must have a licence to operate and what TFS was doing was illegal. He asked the company officials why they didn’t even approach the RTA to obtain the necessary licence.

These shortcomings were found in the firm even though one of its top officials had attended a meeting called by the transport commissioner and the police commissioner earlier this month to bring all taxi services under the ambit of the transport department and the law. At the meeting, the delegates were told that registration would be mandatory for aggregate companies as well to run services  from now on, according to an official.

Meanwhile, a senior official in the company’s finance department said that TFS was in the process of fulfilling the guidelines stipulated at the meeting, including installing embedded GPS in all taxis and getting police verification done for its drivers. The company officials said that 700-800 drivers had gone through the verification process do date and 200-250 vehicles were being fitted with GPS every day. The entire process will be completed in a week, the official asserted.

The official, however, admitted that presently the taxis depended on the GPS on the drivers’ mobile devices given by the company. If a driver switches off the mobile phone, there is no way the company could track the cab. The company currently has around 2,000 active drivers and owns 101 Tata Nano cars for the Nano service it started recently.

Speaking to reporters after the inspection, TFS Co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna said, “We will work with the government and take the necessary steps. However, there appear to be certain grey areas which we will clarify with the transport department for our understanding. As an aggregator, we were following the norms of the department but we will follow whatever additions have been made,” he added.

Transport officials asked the TFS representatives to bring all necessary documents on Wednesday to get the necessary licence to operate in the City.

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