Delhi no longer seems to be a welcome market for taxi operators, especially for the app based aggregators. In a recent development regarding the ban of taxi operators in the national capital region, Uber filed a petition in Delhi High Court to get the permission to restart its operations in Delhi. However, this petition has turned into a total nightmare for Olacabs instead. The court has directed the app based taxi provider, Olacabs, to shut down their Delhi operations as well.
According to sources, during the hearing process it was pointed out that Olacabs is still providing services in the national capital, which lead the judge to question the transport department’s actions so far. Post this, the Delhi transport authorities concluded, “Ola has been operating illegally.”
“The Transport department is working on filing an FIR against Ola for illegal operations in Delhi and looking to serve notice to other taxi operators for violating the norms” said an anonymous source working in the transport department.
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Meanwhile, Uber has issued a statement that “the petition was withdrawn with liberty to avail remedies as may be available under law.” The company is taking its time to evaluate its course of action. It also indicated that the last word on the legal battle may not have been said.
In December last year, the Delhi Court had directed to ban all taxi apps after the alleged rape of a woman passenger by a driver on the Uber network. This incident put a spotlight on the absence of clear regulations for taxi aggregators, following which the transport department amended the radio taxi rules to include provisions for apps such as Uber, Ola and Taxiforsure.
The technology based aggregators argued that they are not taxi operators but technology firms which should be under the purview of the IT law.
On the Transport Department’s amendments to the radio taxi scheme, an Uber spokesperson told Inc42, “Uber is not a radio taxi company; therefore the Transport Department’s amendments to the radio taxi scheme do not help us serve our riders and partner drivers in Delhi. It also does not accurately reflect the primary role that the Information Act 2000 plays in regulating intermediaries like Uber. We are committed to working with the government to develop regulations based on a shared commitment to safety and a vision for how technology can improve the transportation environment in major urban areas in India.”
However, the transport department ruled out all such possibilities and ordered all the app based taxi operators to obtain a licence in line with the new radio taxi rules.