Private taxi providers flouting norms blatantly

  • Nitindra Bandyopadhyay, None, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2014 23:41 IST

The recent rape case involving an Uber cab driver in the national capital has exposed how norms laid for functioning of private taxi services are being flouted blatantly. HT found out that the situation in Jalandhar district is no better as private taxi service in the city goes on highly unregulated due to the apathy of the authorities concerned.

There are three main private taxi service providers in the city, namely Citi Cab run by Jhujhar travels, OLA Cabs and Taxiforsure, besides many small operators. According to the guidelines laid by the state transport department, each taxi service provider should have two functional offices with their own parking space in the city they are functioning.

However, only Citi Cab has a registered office in the city whereas the other two services are run through call centers. Even Citi Cab has only one functional office located at the bus stand while the other at Master Tara Singh Nagar is lying closed.

As per the guidelines, the vehicles used by the taxi service provider should be in good condition and should pass a fitness test for plying on the road, but most of the cabs inspected by HT team were found to be in a dilapidated condition.
Harbhajan Singh, manager of Citi Cabs said, "I know that a few of our vehicles need to be changed, but currently there is demand for only 10 to 2 cabs within the city. To get a taxi service operator licence, a company should have minimum 25 cabs as per government guidelines. Hence the cabs being used for plying passengers are in good condition."

Despite HT's repeated attempts, no one was available for comment from Taxiforsure and OLA Cabs. All these cab service providers ask their customers to agree to their terms and conditions before hiring a taxi being provided by them. A look at the terms and conditions reveal that these companies claim themselves to be third party service providers and try to shun any liability pertaining to their customers.

Interestingly, they still manage to receive permits to ply on the city roads.

Mega Cab, another firm of Jhujhar travels, had filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana high court against the functioning of the taxi service providers in the city, which do not have a local office. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for December 12.

Meanwhile, Citi Cab, the only service provider in the city with a registered office, is also not abiding by all the rules and regulations laid down by the government. "As a local taxi service provider, we know our drivers well," Manager Harbhajan Singh said while adding that after the Uber case, they are going in for the police verification of their drivers.

Asked if they maintain a complaint book in the office, Harbhajan said, "All our customers are regular service seekers and they have faith in the service provided by us. We never receive any complaint and hence there is no need for keeping a complaint book in our office."

When contacted, District transport officer RP Singh and Gurmeet Singh, regional transport officer, passed the buck over the issue and said they were not aware of the rules mandatory for allowing private taxi service providers to ply on the city roads.

Notably, most of the taxis plying on the city roads are bearing the registration number PB-08, which brings these commercial vehicles under the jurisdiction of secretary, regional office, Jalandhar. The fact that the local authorities are claiming ignorance about the norms mandatory for cab service in the city is reflective of the extent of their apathy over the issue.

Ola cabs liability aggrement

The company shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage, howsoever, caused or suffered by the customer arising out of the use of taxi service offered by the company or due to the failure of company to provide services to the customer for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to the customer's non-compliance with the services, recorded voice instructions, malfunction, partial or total failure of any network terminal, data processing system, computer tele-transmission or telecommunications system or other circumstances whether or not beyond the control of company or any person or any organisation involved in the above-mentioned systems.

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