Mumbai RTO begins crackdown on Uber, Ola over new permits
Mumbai city news: The transport commissioner’s office decided to conduct a drive after receiving a negligible number of applications for the required permits in the past 25 daysmumbai Updated: Jul 14, 2017 11:29 IST
For the first time since the app-based taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola launched their services in Mumbai in 2014, the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on Thursday started a crackdown against vehicles being used by the drivers employed at these companies.
Under the state government’s city taxi scheme — Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017 — drivers/owners using vehicles under app-based aggregators are supposed to get separate City Taxi Permits to do so. They also have to comply with several conditions aimed at keeping passengers safe and preventing over pricing.
After receiving a negligible number of applications in the past 25 days for new permits, the transport commissioner office decided to conduct a drive.
Ola and Uber did not respond to emails sent by HT for their comment on this issue.
According to sources, in a meeting on Wednesday, the transport commissioner’s office directed flying squads in all 10 RTO and deputy RTO offices in the MMR to begin a crackdown with the immediate effect.
A motor vehicle inspector said if any all-India tourist taxi is found ferrying passengers as an app-based cab, they will be booked under section 66/192A of Motor Vehicle Act for breach of permit conditions. Most cabs working with taxi aggregators have this permit.
“As this is not compounding offence, the cabbies will be sent to court, “said the inspector. He said the drivers will be fined Rs 2,000 to Rs10,000 or they can be sent to prison for at least three months, according to the Act.
In 2014, Uber and Ola launched their app-based taxi services in the MMR using all-India tourist taxi permits. As those permits were issued to promote tourism, conventional cabbies and autorickshaw drivers demanded action after their business was badly hit.
Under pressure from the unions, the government brought in the Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017 to make it a level-playing field for all cabbies.
The state government has made new city taxi permits mandatory for app based taxis under new rules enacted since March 4, 2017. It also developed a web-based application with the help of Mahaonline, a joint venture committee of the state government and a private IT company, to issue the new permits online and appealed drivers to appeal for the city taxi permits.
According to RTO sources, Mumbai RTOs have received just four applications for city taxi permits.
The drivers of Ola and Uber have moved the Bombay high court against the new rules.