1. Uber restarts cab service in New Delhi after ban; applies for radio taxi licence

Uber restarts cab service in New Delhi after ban; applies for radio taxi licence

Uber's apps were working in New Delhi on Friday after the company agreed to apply for a radio taxi licence.

By: | Updated: January 23, 2015 4:49 PM
Uber Cab, Uber radio taxi, Uber Delhi

Uber says it will improve passenger safety by introducing additional safety measures, including more stringent driver checks. (Reuters)

U.S. taxi-hailing app maker Uber Technologies Inc has restarted services in India’s capital after a ban following rape allegations against one of its drivers, but a government official said the company remains blacklisted.

Uber’s app showed taxis available in New Delhi on Friday after the company applied for a radio taxi licence, a spokesman said. Just last month, the company said traditional radio taxi regulations were incompatible with a disruptive technology company that connects passengers with drivers.

“They can’t start operations,” said a senior transport official, who was not authorised to speak with media on the matter and so declined to be identified. “They don’t have a licence yet, they have only applied for it. It may get cleared, we could request changes, or we may reject it.”

The service restoration comes as Uber works to counter bans in countries such as France, Spain, Thailand and South Korea, imposed because some of its drivers were not correctly licenced. It has also had to contend with a reputation tarnished by further rape allegations against drivers in Chicago and Boston.

Its application in India comes after Uber partnered a taxi firm in Korea to comply with local regulations, and after Chief Executive Office Travis Kalanick promised to create 50,000 jobs in European cities where Uber is able to operate.

Delhi High Court asked the city government why websites of app-based cabs cannot be blocked on a PIL alleging that these taxi services were operating despite the government banning them. Reuters

Delhi High Court asked the city government why websites of app-based cabs cannot be blocked on a PIL alleging that these taxi services were operating despite the government banning them. Reuters

SAFETY

India is Uber’s largest market outside of the United States by number of cities covered, and the country’s radio taxi market is estimated to be worth $6 billion to $9 billion.

But after the alleged rape last month, Delhi’s government banned Uber and other taxi-hailing app providers from operating in the city. Uber later said it did not carry out background checks on drivers in India, and authorities revealed the suspect was on bail for sexual assault.

The case triggered protests and reignited debate about the safety of women in Asia’s third-largest economy, especially in New Delhi, which has been widely dubbed India’s rape capital.

Policemen escort driver Shiv Kumar Yadav (C in black jacket) who is accused of a rape outside a court in New Delhi on December 8, 2014. U.S. online ride-hailing service Uber was been banned from operating in Delhi after a female passenger accused one of its drivers of rape. (Reuters)

Policemen escort driver Shiv Kumar Yadav (C in black jacket) who is accused of a rape outside a court in New Delhi on December 8, 2014. U.S. online ride-hailing service Uber was been banned from operating in Delhi after a female passenger accused one of its drivers of rape. (Reuters)

Uber, valued at $40 billion last month, on Friday said it would introduce additional safety measures including more stringent driver checks, an in-app emergency button and a dedicated incident response team.

“We are setting an even higher standard than current industry requirements,” Uber said in a statement. “Our commitment to make transportation safe in Indian cities has never been more absolute.”

Local rival TaxiForSure told Reuters it has also applied for a radio taxi licence. Ola, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Corp , has also applied, said a company official who was not authorised to speak with media and so requested anonymity. The apps of both companies are currently operating in the city.

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