The rocky journey continues for cab aggregators. Media reports suggest that Ola has received its license to operate 100 cars as on Tuesday, as confirmed by HG Kumar, Additional Commissioner Transport Department, Karnataka.
According to the on-demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules 2016 as implemented on April 2nd, the cab aggregators need to follow set of regulations like capping of prices as per government mandate, submission of documents verifying drivers with their signatures, taxi signs on top of cars, digital printers and a physical panic button.
Kumar told YourStory couple of weeks back that Ola’s license application was under review. However, they seem to have passed the government’s iron-clad test and gotten their license, but for 100 cars, only. In the Times of India report, Kumar stated that Ola has given details for 100 vehicles, and will have to make several other arrangements as per the new regulations.
On the topic of Uber, Kumar had earlier explained that Uber has been asked to submit sufficient documents to the RTO.
“While the computer-generated documents are legally acceptable, it needs to have the signature of both the permit holder and the company to be credible. Uber’s documents had only the signature of the company,” Kumar said.
Here Uber has a different take they state that all their documents have e-signatures of the company and the driver partners. However, since they are e-signatures, the RTO doesn’t seem to be accepting the same.
The law demands aggregators to install a digital meter, fare printer, physical panic button, and a ‘taxi’ board on top of the car. But Uber has not followed any of these mandates, Kumar said. “It is mandatory to have minimum 100 taxis inspected by the RTO; but they have not even inspected a single taxi,” he added.
However, Uber, like Ola, has complied with all the rules for 100 cars at least when it comes to the rule of cabs ‘taxi’ signs. It is unclear whether these rules have to be followed beyond the 100 cabs as well. Ola has refused to participate in this story.
Also on the checks, Uber has a different take, Bhavik Rathod, General Manager, Uber India, South and West, said that as per their understanding only 100 vehicles were inspected by the Koramangala RTO as of May 29th. A direct source told YourStory that the RTO has asked for another round of inspections at the Electronic City RTO.
“When we asked the department why another inspection was needed, we didn’t receive a clear answer,” said the source. Bhavik declined to comment on the issue of inspections at the Electronic City RTO, but said that none of the cosmetic changes and requirements for the 100 vehicles solves the issues related to safety and transparency for which the regulations were introduced in the first place.
“The transport department can best explain the delay in the issuance of licence to us. It is disappointing that the innovation capital of the country has drafted rules that are out of step with the progressive regulations that are needed to nurture a nascent sector,” added Bhavik. Kumar has been unavailable to comment on the same.
Currently Uber and the transport department are fighting the aggregator rules out in court, for which the verdict is yet to be released.