Delhi: Ban on diesel-run taxis comes into force, authorities launch crackdown against violators

New Delhi: The ban on plying of 27,000 diesel-run taxis in Delhi came into force on Sunday, with the authorities launching a crackdown against violators, impounding errant vehicles.

The impact of shortage of taxis will be felt on Monday, the first working day after the Supreme Court on Saturday refused to extend the deadline for converting diesel-run taxis into CNG-mode.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

As Traffic Police and Delhi Government's transport department launched a crackdown against the violators, commuters found it difficult to book taxis through app-based aggregators Ola and Uber.

Amid the shortage of taxis, Uber brought back controversial surge pricing, a day after the odd-even car rationing scheme came to an end.

The Delhi government had proscribed surge pricing during the 'odd-even period' and later announced that the ban will continue even after the 15-day period of the road-rationing scheme has ended.

"We have today launched an intensive crackdown against diesel-run taxis plying in Delhi-NCR following the Supreme Court's order. The crackdown was launched in the morning which continued late in the night," said a senior government official.

The official said that the transport department has impounded hundreds of diesel-run taxis in the Delhi-NCR.

"Instructions have been issued to authorities concerned, including transport department, to impound diesel-run taxis plying in Delhi-NCR," another senior government official said.

According to Delhi transport department, about 60,000 taxis are registered in the national capital of which 27,000 run on diesel. Around 2,000 diesel-run taxis had converted into CNG mode in the last two months.

The SC order is not applicable to cabs having All-India Permits but most of the diesel taxis ply on local routes. The ban will essentially bring down the availability of cabs in the capital.

"As per rule, taxis having All-India permit are required to cover a minimum distance of 200 km. Taxis having All India permits cannot ply from one point to other point inside Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad," official further said.

As Uber brought back surge pricing in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned the operators of "strong action".

Uber had introduced the provision during odd-even scheme, which was objected to by commuters and Kejriwal had asserted that such demand-linked hikes would be banned permanently.

A day after the second phase of odd-even scheme ended, commuters across the city, who availed the services of the app-based aggregator, found surge pricing, where fares are raised when demand exceeds supply, was back.

When contacted, an Uber spokesperson confirmed the development, saying that suspension of surge pricing was only a "temporary" measure.

Uber's move came on a day the ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect in Delhi, further inconveniencing the commuters.

"Some taxis have started charging surge. Surge not allowed under law. They r warned that strong action will be taken against them," Kejriwal tweeted.

A senior Delhi government official said action will be taken against these companies based on complaints. "We will impound their cabs," the official said.

A representative of Ola, another app-based service, refused to confirm if it would also follow suit and adopt the surge pricing model. Its app displayed a message saying peak time charges may be applicable during high demand hours and will be conveyed during the booking which "enables us to make more cabs available to you".

Ola displayed the disclaimer during the odd-even period as well although it did not invoke peak-pricing till Saturday.

Updated Date: May 02, 2016 09:00 AM

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