Delhi Government Bans Uber After the Rape Incident, Who’s To Blame?

Delhi Government Bans Uber After the Rape Incident, Who’s To Blame?

After the horrific Delhi rape incident, the Delhi Government has now banned Uber and blacklisted the company in Delhi. It’s also considering cancelling the permission of Uber and scrutinising the permits of all private taxi services, a senior transport department official has told Indian Express.

“The services of Uber have been blacklisted. We have just issued an order saying Uber’s activities stand banned in Delhi,” Special Commissioner of Delhi Transport Department, Satish Mathur said. He added that Uber is “misleading customers” by offering them Taxis with All-India permits that cannot ply in Delhi from point-to-point, ferrying customers.”

The Government will also be issuing a public notice notifying Uber is not authorized to provide any taxi services in the capital, so that customers are aware about which are the authorized radio cab services in the city.

The Laws In Question

According to Satish Mathur, since Uber is ferrying customers in Delhi from point-to-point, it has to follow rules under the Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006 which mentions that the licensee must be either a company under the Companies Act, 1956 or a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

The rules mention that licensee must demonstrate possession of adequate parking space for all taxies and office space (minimum of 1000 sq. ft.) for accommodating the control room with radio communication and ten telephone lines, minimum fleet size per license would be 500 motor cabs and vehicle must be fitted with GPS/GPRS based tracking devices which must be in constant communication with the Central Control unit while the vehicles is on duty.

Delhi Police Was Unable to Find Uber’s Delhi Office

The police faced a tough time locating Uber’s address. After searching through it’s website and going through social media, Delhi police took to the app to find it’s office. They had to download the app and book an Uber cab for reaching out to the Uber’s office.

No Background Checks, Accused Driver had Priors

The Delhi Police mentions that Uber hadn’t conducted police verification of the driver. The driver did not have a public service verification (PSV) badge or an employer’s verification certificate. The driver was a repeat offender and had faced rape charges in 2011, something which Uber didn’t check while hiring him.

No Live GPS Tracking System

Uber does not use a standalone GPS system, which is usually difficult or impossible for a driver to disable. Instead, Uber uses a phone-based GPS system, which is similar to how it traces the user, to track its cars. Thus switching off the phone or deleting the app takes the driver off the radar. The driver seems to have switched off the phone or deleted the app from his phone, thereby thwarting efforts of using the GPS tracker on the app to trace the cab.

No Driver License and Wrong Registered Mobile Number

The driver apparently didn’t have a driver’s licence issued by the Delhi Transport Authority and the mobile number listed with the company was registered to a different person, indicating further negligence by the company while taking the details of the driver.

Surprising Terms and Conditions

Though everywhere Uber says that safety is its primary concern, but its terms and conditions tells a completely different story.

UBER HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY TO YOU RELATED TO ANY TRANSPORTATION OR LOGISTICS PROVIDED TO YOU BY THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS…. BY USING THE SERVICES, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO SITUATIONS INVOLVING THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY UNSAFE, OFFENSIVE, HARMFUL TO MINORS, OR OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE, AND THAT USE OF THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS ARRANGED OR SCHEDULED USING THE SERVICES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND JUDGMENT.UBER SHALL NOT HAVE ANY LIABILITY ARISING FROM OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO YOUR TRANSACTIONS OR RELATIONSHIP WITH THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS.”

Takeaways

However, according to Indian laws, “The radio taxi licensee shall be responsible for quality of drivers, their police verification, employer control and supervision of drivers, employee behavior”. And if we talk of this particular case, the driver Shiv Kumar Yadav, also holds a criminal history and was in fact arrested for raping another woman in 2011 and has spent seven months in Tihar Jail.

All this indicates that Uber doesn’t seem to be concerned about who the driver is, what past record the person holds, whether he has a license or not. All it is worried about is expanding its fleet size.

Uber is surely wrong on its part to a certain extent, but banning the service is not the solution. What about other services like OlaCabs and TaxiForSure, that work on a similar model?

Author

Team Inc42

Inc42 Staff
Inc42 Magazine is an online startup magazine that covers some of the best startups and entrepreneurs in the India ecosystem. We also feature numerous guest posts and resources by leading experts from across the industry, including many from the Silicon Valley and Bay Area.
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