App-based cab aggregator Uber is under scanner for launching its two-wheeler taxi service UberMoto in Gurgaon bearing white vehicle registration number plates instead of the mandatory yellow. Deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash has described the move as a clear violation of Motor Vehicles Act.
The offence, a senior official said, is using privately owned two-wheelers for commercial purposes.
While the district officials said that any vehicle offering two-wheeler service must bear a yellow number plate as per the Act, Uber has maintained that since UberMoto is a ride sharing service instead of a bike taxi, it is exempted from using yellow coded number plates.
“It is illegal. Transport vehicles, including bikes should have a number plate but Uber is using white boards. This is a clear violation of the Motor Vehicle Act,” Satyaprakash said.
UberMoto was launched in Gurgaon on March 29. Gurgaon police commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk was present at the launch. The base fare for the ride is fixed at `15 and passengers are charged `3 for every kilometre.
An Uber spokesperson said that the service does not come under the ambit of the Motor Vehicles Act, which bars the use of white number plates for commercial vehicles.
“We have signed an MoU with the Haryana government, which allows us to use white number plates. The service has been launched on a pilot basis with the intention of decongesting roads and not make money,” the spokesperson said.
Confronting Uber’s claims, the DC citied Bangalore example where Uber’s two-wheeler taxis were seized in March for not using yellow number plates.
“The law will be the same for everyone whatever the intentions. It’s a commercial activity and you have to pay for it,” Satyaprakash said adding that the administration has already given the company a two-week window to make amends failing which action would be taken as per the law.
It is pertinent to mention here that Uber found itself in the middle of a controversy in Bangalore when the Karnataka government seized five two-wheeler taxis belonging to Uber and another company for violating the Motor Vehicles Act. The two-wheeler taxis were operating without the requisite permissions and did not have yellow number plates.
A senior administration official, on the condition of anonymity, said that Uber was using the technical loophole in the norm by calling its service bike-sharing and thereby evading taxes that it should pay to the government for any commercial activity.
“They use private bike owners for their services but do not provide insurance to them. Who will take the responsibility in case of an accident,” the official said.