Aiming at creating a level-playing field for all taxi operators and bringing app-based aggregators within the regulatory framework, the state transport department will introduce a new taxi scheme.
Of the 25,000 new permits that the government is considering to issue, around 10,000 may be reserved for this scheme, which sources said will be an ‘upgraded version of existing fleet taxi schemes’ and may be introduced this month itself.
The transport commissioner’s office has already submitted the draft for the City Taxi Scheme-2015 for the government’s approval. To begin with, the scheme will be applicable for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), and may be extended for the rest of the state later.
According to the draft notification documents that HT accessed, the transport commissioner’s office has proposed to merge three existing schemes - Fleet Taxi Scheme 2006, Phone Fleet Taxi Scheme 2010 and Call Taxi Scheme 2010 - in the new scheme.
So far, the transport authorities issued licences to radio taxi operators such as Meru, Easy Cab and Tab Cab, while Book My Cab is issued licences to operate black and yellow taxis under the Call Taxi Scheme.
Once the government launches the new scheme, the app-based taxi aggregators such as Ola, Uber and others will have to apply for fresh licences and will have to follow the same set of rules. Also, the transport authorities will regulate the fares for the taxis under the scheme that are likely to be known as ‘app-based taxis’.
Sources said like the existing radio cabs, all app-based taxis may have specific colours, GPS/GPRS meters, specific engine capacity, panic button for emergency situations, uniformed drivers and run on clean fuel.
In an ongoing tussle, taxi unions and radio taxi operators have said app-based taxi aggregators are affecting their businesses. To pacify the taxi unions, the government is also looking at issuing new permits. Sources said the government may issue as many as 25,000 new permits and with this, the number of total permits will surge to over 85,000.
The 10,000 permits under the scheme are likely to cost Rs25,000 each, the sources added.