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Delhi tweaks its taxi laws, but Uber's not returning for now

After banning all app-based taxi services, Delhi's transport department on Monday made some modifications to the norms governing the operation of radio taxis in the national capital. However they will not facilitate the re-entry of services of Uber, TaxiForSure and other app based taxi aggregators just yet.

The Transport Department on Monday modified the Radio Taxi Scheme 2006, drawing up specific guidelines for the operations of all cab provider services, including app-based cab service providers. The modifications include the installation of GPS, and a panic button, and also asking cab services to provide the database of their drivers to the Delhi Police.

Fleet cab services are also required to have a call centre,  a LCD panel on the top of the vehicle to indicate whether the taxi is available for hire and a coloured strip on both sides of the taxi showing which service it belongs to.

The authority has also made it easier for fleet operators by reducing the required number of taxis to just 200 from the earlier 500. And they can be owned by either the company or operated through an agreement with individual taxi permit owners.

AFP image

AFP image

However, there are two clauses that could will prevent the re-entry of aggregators like Uber any time soon.

One, the taxi operator will still be required to follow the fare structure fixed by the transport department and have calibrated meters in their vehicles. Until they were banned, aggregators were known to charge extra fees, and raise or reduce charges based on demand.

Uber has been known to raise fares for taxis if demand is higher than supply while others like Ola Cabs were charging commuters an additional fee for booking cabs during rush hour.

Another clause that could prove to be a stumbling block for aggregator companies in Delhi is the fact that all of them will be required to have only CNG powered cars, reports the Business Standard.

Aggregators like Uber were working with vehicles that had All India taxi permits that were mostly diesel and petrol vehicles and vehicle owners are unlikely to be keen on incurring the additional cost of installing a CNG kit on their vehicles.

The rules by the Transport Department of Delhi were amended on the same day that representatives of Uber assured them that they would comply with the new rules to ensure the plying of its taxis in the national capital. However, when asked their reaction on the new norms, spokespersons for Uber and TaxiForSure were quoted as telling the Economic Times that they wouldn't benefit from the new modified norms in any way.

The new norms in Delhi could however make it easier for the start of smaller fleet taxi services in the national capital. But Uber and other competing aggregator services may have to wait for some more leeway from authorities before they can return to the roads.


Updated Date: Dec 30, 2014 12:05 PM

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