Ministry writes to govt on checks for online cab booking services

  • Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 13, 2014 00:11 IST

The women and child development (WCD) ministry wants companies providing web-based taxi service to be held accountable for lapses. Uber, a cab booking mobile app service, was banned after a passenger was allegedly raped by a driver last week.

Web-based services don’t operate their own fleet but aggregate taxi-owners in a city for their customers through a mobile app.

WCD secretary VS Oberoi has written a letter to Delhi chief secretary Deepak Spolia suggesting that the government could formulate a checklist. The letter says the service providers should be mandated to submit a self certificate declaring that they have done a background check of its employees.

“This can then be verified by a by an empanelled third party and subsequently randomly by the police. This process will not create an additional burden upon the police. It will compel the service providers to take responsibility for the persons employed by them,” the letter states.

The WCD secretary said that if the police came across lapses during random checking, the service provider or the third party verifier should be given a one-time warning. “In case of multiple transgressions they can even be de-licensed from the list of empanelled third party verifiers,” Oberoi’s letter adds.

Currently, there are no specific provisions under the Delhi government’s Radio Taxi Scheme 2006 covering service providers such as Uber. This gives them the leeway to sidestep regulations which are mandatory for commercial taxi services.

Radio taxi operators have to get a permit from the state transport department to run taxi service. Web-based cab booking services hire taxi drivers who have permits to drive taxis anywhere in India.

According to the WCD ministry, such preventive measures could go a long way in ensuring that service providers have the responsibility to “create a system where women’s safety and security could be ensured.”

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