Govt tweaking licencing conditions, drivers now operators’ responsibility
Over a week after all but six radio taxi services were banned from operating in the capital, the Delhi government said it was “fine-tuning” new guidelines for radio taxis. The ban came after a 27-year-old finance company executive was allegedly raped in an Uber taxi by the driver. The incident was reported from Inder Lok on the night of December 5.
The government said it was also looking at relaxing the condition, which stipulate that a taxi operator is required to own 500 taxis.
“It may not be easy for everyone to invest in 500 taxis. If taxi services cannot own the vehicles, we may give them an option of tying up with individual permit owners to meet the minimum required size of the fleet. Whether that number will be 100, 200 or more is still being discussed,” a senior Transport department official said.
Sources said as soon as the new radio taxi scheme, framed by the Transport department, is notified, web-based taxi services that are not already licenced will have to apply to the department and will be allowed to operate only if they meet the requirements.
Earlier, web-based services such as Uber did not have a call centre as mandated under the existing radio taxi scheme of the Delhi government.
A senior official told Newsline that the Transport department is also considering giving web-based taxi operators the option of running a call centre or a data-specific server that logs bookings made with the service-provider.
“The cab service provider will have to take full responsibility of the driver’s conduct. They can’t wash their hands of it,” a senior official said, adding that the department may also lay down a time period until which voice bookings will have to be retained. In case of an untoward incident, the booking can be traced, the official said.
The Transport department is mulling over making it mandatory for radio taxi service providers to conduct annual health check-ups for drivers.