The transport authorities in Mumbai are still not sure how to track taxis operated by app-based aggregators using the global positioning system (GPS).
The motor vehicle department (MVD) has asked the operators to tell them their preference within a week so that one service provider can be appointed for all.
Mahesh Zagade, transport commissioner, held a meeting at his Bandra office on Wednesday. Apart from the five taxi aggregators — Uber, Ola, Meru Plus, Cabzo and Taxi For Sure — a few vehicle tracking service providers were also present for the meeting.
Sources said the aim was to know how the operators were going to share real-time GPS tracking data of taxis with the authorities.
Following the rape of a woman by an Uber driver in Delhi last December, the Maharashtra government decided to make GPS/ GPRS device and a panic button mandatory for all taxis.
At present, most of the aggregators track the vehicle using GPS on a mobile phone, but it is not a reliable source for providing the exact location of the vehicle.
A GPS device will help authorities track the taxis, and the panic button will help passengers get immediate help from the police.
Sources, however, said the drivers work for multiple aggregators, and use different GPS devices for each of them. Hence, in an emergency, it will be difficult for authorities to figure out which operator the driver is working for at a particular time.
According to sources, the state government is planning to appoint a single GPS service provider, who will set up a control room, track all the taxis, monitor panic calls and coordinate with authorities in case of an emergency.
Zagade said it will be better if there is single GPS service provider. “We have suggested that all the aggregators switch to a common service provider. If they are ready, we can appoint the common facilitator and they will have to bear the cost of his service. They have a week to reply,” he said.