Delhi taxi regulations amended to allow Uber and others to resume services

The Delhi transport department yesterday amended and notified the Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006, setting the stage for taxi service providers such as Uber, Ola Cabs and TaxiForSure to return to the roads of the national capital, Business Standard reported.

The amended regulation has allowed in addition to fleet owners, aggregators also to get licences. The minimum fleet size of 500 had been cut to half, allowing entry of smaller players into the segment.

However, all firms seeking licences in Delhi - whether they are fleet owner or aggregators - would need to meet many mandatory requirements, including having prefixed calibrated meters in their cars, along with a GPS device. All cars on the network would also be required to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). According to commentators, this might curtail expansion of firms such as Uber, which relied heavily on unused inventory, the majority of which were diesel or petrol cars.

Meanwhile, The Times of India reported that after the Delhi high court's direction, the transport department yesterday gave a hearing to app-based taxi aggregator Uber in the case of a company driver's involvement in the rape of a woman passenger. According to sources, the department was yet to decide on the merits of the case. However, department spokesman Kuldeep Singh Gangar said the ban on the app-based services will continue as of now. The public notice has not been withdrawn, he added.

Sources said the transport department called for supporting documents from the company. A source said the company failed to produce documents showing it was registered with either the department of information technology, for offering transport-related services online, nor with the transport department. For operating a business online, the service needed to be registered with the department concerned, claimed the official.

The company is also learnt to have been asked to furnish details of its hiring process as also the verification process it had been employing till now. According to the official who was part of the meeting, the company spoke about the changes it was bringing about in order to enhance its safety features. However, a decision has not been taken on whether Uber would be taken off the blacklist yet.

An Uber spokesperson told TOI that the company was respectfully withholding comment, since the matter was sub judice and all the information solicited from Uber had been dutifully provided to the authorities.