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Maharashtra drafts rules to regulate Ola, Uber

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 18, 2016

In an effort to tighten control over cab aggregator companies such as Uber and Ola, the Maharashtra government has published draft rules, which place restrictions on the way they operate.

The rules empower the State Transport Commissioner to fix fares, set responsibility for the companies in the event of errant behaviour of the drivers and issue licences and permits to them.

This comes even as local taxi operators have been asking the government to take action against the cab aggregators. Other States, including Delhi and Karnataka, have also tried to bring in some rules.

The State government has called for a public consultation on the rules, which are being called as Maharashtra City Taxi Rules, 2016. Suggestions and objections have been invited from the citizens till November 5.

The aggregator companies will have to furnish a bank guarantee of ₹50 lakh per 1000 vehicles as a security deposit. Individual permit for a vehicle below 1,400 cc would be ₹25,000 and for above 1,400 cc, it would be ₹2.61 lakh. They will also have to pay a processing fee of ₹1 lakh for their licence application, which would be valid for five years.

Fare restrictions

Although the rules have not delineated the actual fares it is said that the Transport Commissioner’s Office shall prescribe the minimum and maximum fare limit, which will be decided as per the type of vehicle with engine capacity of less than 2,000 cc . For vehicles above 2000 cc, the fare restrictions will not be imposed. As most of the sedans and hatchbacks used by the taxi companies fall below 2,000 cc capacity, the fare restrictions would be applicable to them.

A separate colour scheme shall be as specified for all the aggregator-operated taxis.

Responsibility, safety

The rules said that in the event of any crime or unauthorised activity, both the driver and the company would be responsible. The aggregator needs to develop and include a feature in its mobile application that provides the passenger with a facility to share their real-time location with up to five persons within their safety network and to contact local police in case of an emergency.

The rules also point out that web application is so designed that the driver of the taxi does not know the destination of the customer nor does he determine the fare to be charged.

These are determined by the aggregator software. For all practical purposes, the commuter has hired a taxi from such aggregator and the aggregator has offered such a services, and is, therefore required to be regulated like any other taxi service provider.

Published on October 18, 2016
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