Cab aggregators Ola and Uber can re-commence the registration of new cabs from today (April 15) in Maharashtra. The development was conveyed by the state transport ministry to a state-wide union of cab drivers known as Federation of Tourist Taxi Operators.
This announcement comes after the tourist federation had complained on Friday (April 12) that registration of new cabs had been abruptly stopped by the regional transport office (RTO) since April 1. According to the cab aggregators, not a single cab (with an engine capacity of less than 1400 cc) has been registered since then.
According to a TOI report, the federation had also registered a complaint against the issue with the transport commissioner’s office and also allegedly threatened to not provide any cab services during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The cab aggregators had alleged that the delay in registration of cabs was being done deliberately to hamper their business growth.
The cab aggregators seem to have been facing some trouble in India. Both Ola and Uber have been under scrutiny as the immense popularity of the cab services has also affected the business of local kaali-peeli cabs.
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In 2015, Mumbai-based kaali-peeli taxis (black and yellow taxis) had gone on strike demanding a ban on the ride-hailing giants Uber, Ola and TaxiForSure.
In order to compete with the growing demands of app-based cab services, kaali-peeli taxi unions had come together and launched their own app called “9211” in 2016.
Last year, reports said that the kaali-peeli’s accounted for only 22% of all taxis deployed on Mumbai’s roads. The report said that as of May, for every kaali-peeli in Mumbai, there were at least three cab aggregators operating their vehicles.
According to a report by Statista, the revenue of India ride-hailing market is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2019-2023) of 13.9%, resulting in a market volume of $1.13 Bn by 2023.
Ongoing Troubles For Cab Aggregators In India
Bengaluru-based cab hailing giant Ola has been going through rough times in its own hometown for past few months after the state government suspended its licence for illegally operating two-wheelers in the state.
Most recently, the Karnataka High Court had asked the state transport department to submit the status on bike taxis by April 16. This development came in after Ola filed a petition against the Karnakata transport department for not providing the company with a licence to operate bike taxis in the state.
In its petition, Ola had sought directions from the transport department and asked for a regulatory framework for operating of bike taxis. Ola had also asked the department to ban all other bike taxis until the permits are issued.
Ola was fined INR 15 Lakh ($21,73) by the transport department in order to get the licence for operating its bike taxi services however the permit has been delayed.
Earlier in March, over 150 Ola drivers had protested outside Ola’s Bengaluru office over car lease terms and unfair practices. Their grievances also included the behaviour of Ola executives with partner drivers, differential pricing and blacklisting of drivers based on user inputs.
Meanwhile, US-based cab hailing company Uber has filed for IPO but has also warned that it may never make a profit in a filing.