App-based cab booking services such as Uber and Ola Cabs may be on their way back, provided they follow a revised set of guidelines. Delhi’s transport department has tweaked its Radio Taxi Scheme 2006 to make way for mobile and web-based companies to provide taxi services in the Capital.
The move comes weeks after the transport department banned these services following the rape of a 25-year-old financial analyst allegedly by the driver of a cab she booked through Uber’s mobile-application.
The technology companies will have to obtain licences from the transport department like the radio taxi operators do. They will be responsible for “quality of drivers and their conduct”. “It will be the responsibility of the companies to get police verification done on each driver and submit the antecedents to the transport department,” a department spokesperson said.
The taxis run by these companies will have to be fitted with a global positioning system (GPS) device, two-way mobile-based communication system and a panic button so that in case of any distress a signal is transmitted to the control centre of the company and the police control room.
Earlier, the cabs operated by the technology companies never bothered to do any kind of background check on drivers. Instead of insisting on GPS-fitted taxis, they gave drivers an iPhone, using the same to track their location. Taxis could go off the grid by simply switching off the phone.
Drivers now will also have to get a public service vehicle (PSV) badge which will be issued by the transport department after verifying their antecedents and criminal record.
The department has also made it mandatory for these companies to maintain their own call centre or operate through an authorised one, which companies like Uber were not doing earlier.
Since the companies do not own the cabs they provide to the riders, the transport department has allowed them to maintain a minimum fleet of 200 cars either owned by them or operated through an agreement with individual taxi permit holders.
The companies will have to get these 200 cars within six months of getting the licence to operate. They will have to follow the fare structure fixed by the transport department.
The companies earlier also violated the Supreme Court order of allowing only clean fuel (read CNG-propelled) taxis to run in the Capital, allowing diesel and petrol cars to operate.
For now, however, the ban on Uber stays in place. The company Monday made a representation to the transport department on the orders of the high court. Neither the transport department nor Uber divulged any details saying the matter was sub-judice.