The Karnataka Transport department is leaving no stones unturned in ensuring that taxi aggregator Uber is complying with the On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules, as announced in April 2016. The State authority has asked them to resubmit the documents abiding by the mandates. On Monday, Uber said the Regional Transport Office did not accept their application, and gave no explanation.
Bhavik Rathod, General Manager, Uber, said: “We have also sent a letter via Speed Post seeking an explanation. However, the licences have neither been given nor rejected for anyone.”
The confusion has happened over signatures on the documents presented- Uber maintains only e-contracts with their driver partners, who are the permit holders. While e-contracts are valid legally, the Transport Department says that the documents were declined because they had not met the mandates by law.
Karnataka Additional Transport Commissioner HG Kumar told YourStory 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,” he said.
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, Bhavik says that digital receipt is valid in the court of law. He added: “The whole reason for taxi signs was for street hailing, but this concept doesn’t hold true for the likes of us; it is e-hailing and everything happens in the app.” He wondered about the demand for inspection of 100 cars: “Does it mean that the remaining cars cannot drive as they haven’t complied? Or that the remaining cars don’t need to comply but can still be on road and flout the rules?”
The transport authority has been cracking down on Uber and Ola drivers in Bengaluru over the past few weeks over surge pricing and functioning from the airport. In fact, the drivers have been protesting against both the companies and the transport department, alleging that their livelihoods are affected because of the tussle between the two.
Meanwhile, the decision on the licence is pending for Uber’s arch rival Ola. Kumar said that Ola has submitted all the documents necessary. But the permit has not been granted yet.