Taken for a ride!

uber ola taxiIf you have heard the very widely disliked Baba Sehgal song “Aja meri gadi me baith ja’? (come sit in my car), you would know exactly why licensing, display of driver information and regulation were important for cab drivers! Ola and Uber need just what Baba Sehgal needed in the 1990’s, better standards!

In an unmatched display of innovation, Ola and Uber have attempted the most innovative way out of government scrutiny on their taxi services. What’s in a name you’d think? Ola and Uber have termed themselves facilitators, not taxi operators, expecting an exclusion from a need to possess effective licenses.

But in keeping with the welfare of commuters and the wider need for safe and affordable travel, the Karnataka government has implemented the On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016.

The new rules have facilitated business and relaxed conditions for the services to create conditions for the ease of business. The government has proposed a few measures which can help taxi aggregators to meet the demand of cabs by increasing the supply. Firstly, the time period for which a driver was required to live in Karnataka before working for online taxi aggregator has been brought down to 2 years from 5.

The government has also withdrawn the age restrictions on the vehicles to qualify as taxis. Earlier, for a cab to enter the app-based taxi service, it had to be less than 2 years old and could stay in service only until the age of six.

The government has also slashed down the license fees and security deposit amount by 50%. Now, taxi aggregators have to pay a security deposit of Rs 1 lakh for 1,000 taxis, Rs 2.5 lakhs for up to 10,000 taxis and Rs 5 lakh for more than 10,000 taxis. Similarly, aggregator license fee has also been halved to Rs 50,000 along with cuts on other various fees.

So unless the services comply with better standards of functioning, they are bound to be made redundant, just like the tasteless pop music of the 1990’s! the rest is history.

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