Delhi government on Monday lifted its ban on Uber, and allowed web-based cab aggregator services like it to ply in the Capital if they abide by new rules. The new guidelines are a part of the revised Radio Taxi Scheme 2006 issued by the Department of transport of the Delhi government. However, in doing so, the state government wants Uber and its ilk to shed their business model and become Radio Taxis themselves, which defeats the whole purpose of innovation. Also Read - FIR filed against Twitter India again, now over child pornography contentAlso Read - Mi Notebook Pro X to be Xiaomi's most expensive laptop yet, launch tomorrow
Here are some of the rules that Uber will have to follow in order to resume operations in Delhi, which would make it shed its USP. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needy
The licensee shall maintain a minimum fleet of 200 Radio Taxis either owned or through an agreement with individual taxi permits holders. According to the new rules, Uber would have to add 50 taxis within the first month of receiving the license, 100 within three months and 200 within six months.
Now Uber doesn’t own any cabs. It is the technology provider that matches passengers with available cabs on its network. While Uber should hold some responsibility of the background verifications of drivers and security of passengers, asking Uber to have a regular fleet of taxis is not its business model.
Uber enables drivers to get on its network but doesn’t control when they are available. It does provide incentives to drivers to be available but it is not a regular taxi fleet.
The licensee shall ensure that each Radio Taxi is equipped with temperature control device in proper working order and is fitted with working electronic digital fare meter on the front panel (dashboard). A LCD display panel visible from both front and rear should be installed on the roof of the Radio Taxi to indicate that the vehicle is a Radio Taxi and whether it is available (green indicator) or occupied (red indicator). The dimensions of the LCD display panel shall conform to those prescribed by the State Transport Authority from time to time.
One of Uber’s USPs is it doesn’t have the look and feel of a taxi. It looks like a regular car but has a commercial number to signify it is a commercial and not a personal vehicle. However, the Delhi government wants Uber cabs to look and feel as a taxi service that’s operated by Uber.
The licensee shall ensure that at the end of every journey, a bill is generated and handed over to the passenger showing the distance traveled, unit rate, along with taxes.
The biggest benefit of Uber is that you step into a car from your pick up point and get out of it at your destination without having to deal with paper bills or money. Everything is taken care of and hassle free. However, with this rule, that won’t be the case anymore.
Fare system as approved by the Transport Department shall be displayed inside the Radio Taxi.
Uber has its own fare system and it offers various discount schemes as well as surge pricing when the demand is higher than the supply. Uber charges 20 percent as its commission and transfers the rest to the driver. However, with this rule in place, Uber won’t be able to have its own fare system.
What this means is that in order for cab aggregator services like Uber and others to ply in Delhi, they will have to follow the same rules like traditional Radio Taxis, which leaves little room to maneuver. The only thing the revised Radio Taxi Scheme of 2006 has done is added the functionality where Radio Taxi companies can now have apps and mimic the technology that Uber pioneered. It leaves no option for Uber but to leave its business model and follow a Radio Taxi model in order to operate in Delhi.
Not surprisingly, Uber isn t quite happy with the kind of guidelines it is being asked to follow. These regulations don’t work for tech companies like Uber,” a spokesman told Reuters. You tell me if trying to force fit existing regulations for “radio taxis” to a disruptive technology company makes sense?
Uber has however pledged that it is stepping up its security measures in India. These new measures include a team verifying driver documents, setting up a dedicated customer support center, and lastly, an enhanced ShareMyEta button feature that will provide trip details like GPS coordinates, driver photo, name, vehicle license number to passengers loved ones.