Delhi Govt’s ‘City Taxi Scheme’ Gives Taxi App Companies like Ola, Uber A Chance to Operate Legally

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Taxi-hailing apps in the country are under turmoil since long as they’ve been fighting bans and flouting orders. Some of them are worth billions of dollars and are making desperate attempts to thrive against the legal odds. For flouting norms, the government was even seeking a ban on them in March this year.

Looks like, Aam Aadmi Party has now thought of doing them some good now, giving the companies a breather.

The new proposal of the Delhi Government called the ‘City Taxi Scheme’ is opening up a larger door for mobile app-based taxi aggregators to come under the legal framework and register themselves for continuing operations in the national capital. The government also plans to set up centralized controlled rooms for taxi operators.

The older version of the Kejriwal government’s ‘radio taxi’, under license of which Uber had resumed operations back in January will be amalgamated with the new scheme; promising the public of improvement in the previous plans.

“The rules this time have been fine tuned and improved upon for all taxi service providers. The scheme should be operational in the next couple of days, once the minutes of the (transport) authority (meeting) are released,” a senior government official told ET.

The government has had a tough time implementing the radio taxi scheme, as it was difficult for all to have their own control rooms. The idea of a centralized control room will certainly please all. Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Monday announced the scheme; saying that all taxis would come under a single scheme, save for the ‘black and yellow’ taxis and those operating long distances under ‘All India Tourist Permit’ (AITP).

Ola and Uber have a large number of cabs in Delhi. Uber has an estimated 15,000 vehicles on its platform. They also offer heavily discounted fares to expand market share, and may find government-set prices detrimental to their plans.

The scheme will make provisions to include small cars such as Reva and Nano too, making it easier for connectivity in remote regions too. Using these cars for cab operations is a novel concept. The rides will also be more feasible for those who cannot afford sedans. Affordability being the highlight of the scheme, permits will be issued to 600cc vehicles, which will charge Rs10 per km.

Cab schemes earlier in Delhi, Radio Taxi Scheme in 2006 and Economy Taxi Scheme in 2010 were not successful.

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