Capping the minimum and maximum fare for cab services provided by app-based aggregators such as Ola and Uber, option for black-and-yellow taxis to join app-based cab services, different colours for different cab operators and doing away with the mandatory provision of panic button for women passengers, are some of the highlights of the new rules governing taxis in the city that were made public by state transport authorities on its department’s website.
Correcting its past gaffe, the state transport department published a revised draft for app-based taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber, naming it ‘Maharashtra City Taxi Scheme 2016’ on its website and sought suggestions and objections from the citizens on the same by November 5.
In the revised draft, the government has included several new rules, which were absent from the City Taxi Scheme 2015, resulting in rejection from the law and judiciary department following which the draft was scrapped.
As per the new draft, a licencing authority will be formulated to determine the fare. The decision has been taken to regulate surge pricing, in which the fare of app-based taxis skyrockets if the demand for such cabs increases. In 2015 draft, the government had allowed call centre-based fleet taxis, which ply under Fleet Taxi Scheme 2007 and Phone Fleet Taxi Scheme 2010, to migrate to app-based services. In the new draft, however, it also decided to give permit to black-and-yellow cabs to do the same, but with certain conditions.
It will be mandatory for all the cab aggregators to have 50% of their cab fleet comprising vehicles with 1400 cc capacity engines. Also, vehicle plying on cleaner fuels like CNG, LPG, electricity and unleaded petrol could also operate under the revised scheme.
The new draft states: “App-based City Taxi Permit issued under section 74 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988 would be necessary for every app-based taxi.” The permit will come with price tags. Surprisingly, for taxis below 1400 cc, it will cost Rs 25,000, and for vehicles above 1400 cc it will cost Rs 2.61 lakh.
Barring operators from installing tinted windows or curtains, the transport department has decided to issue a colour code and passenger feedback register mandatory for service providers. Existing taxis, with tourist taxi permits, will be get three month to migrate to new scheme.
The transport department has also decided to do away with physical panic buttons in the new taxis, allowing mobile-based panic buttons through which passengers would be able to send text messages to five people in case of an emergency. As per the revised scheme, aggregators will have to undertake refresher course for drivers and have to appoint women drivers as well. Also, annual refresher course would be mandatory for every taxi driver operating under the scheme.