Even as different agencies in Maharashtra are trying to come up with ways to make taxi commute safer for citizens, the state transport authorities are in a fix.
Reason: The All India Permit tourist taxis, which cover the agencies that provide such cabs, don’t come under the ambit of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The Act has provisions for licensing, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles such as auto, taxi, fleet cabs and school buses through permits and special provisions for state transport undertakings, insurance, offences and penalties. However, it doesn’t mention tourist taxis or the agencies that provide vehicles with all-India permits such as Uber, Ola and Meru plus. Under the Act, the regional transport office (RTO) has no power to take action against agencies that provide drivers.
In 2012, the Andheri RTO had registered cases against Meru plus and Ola cabs. The cases were produced in the magistrate court, but as these services don’t come under the ambit of the Act, they couldn’t stand the scrutiny. “We have no legal provision governing the services or agencies. There is a need to bring these agencies under the purview of the RTO, but the decision will be taken by the authorities,” said a regional transport officer (RTO), requesting anonymity.
On Tuesday, all regional transport officers in the city and senior state transport authorities held brain-storming sessions to discuss ways of preventing an incident like New Delhi, where a 27-year old was allegedly raped by a private tourist taxi driver.
Meanwhile, RTOs have started a stringent crackdown on fleet cabs, autorickshaws and taxis. The Andheri RTO detained 16 autorickshaws from Bandra (East) and (West) for plying without valid documents. Similarly, 26 autorickshaws are asked to report to the Andheri RTO with seven days, failing which they could face detention.Mumbai: