Delhi government’s transport wing is working on a legislation that might make ride-sharing on Ola and Uber illegal. The City Taxi Scheme 2017 that is in the works now says that Ola Share and UberPOOL are not “legally permitted,” ET reported. “Such operations don t come under the present legal framework as taxis are only allowed to be hired from one point to another and cannot pick and drop passengers, a government official was quoted as saying. At present, Ola offers ride-sharing / carpooling in 26 cities compared to Uber’s 7. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needyAlso Read - Ola India set to launch first electric scooter in 2021
Currently, taxis operate on ‘contract carriage’ permits that grant them the option of plying between any two points at a time. On the contrary, public buses operate with ‘stage carriage’ permits that enable them to make multiple stops to pick and drop multiple passengers. If Ola and Uber have to continue with Ola Share and UberPOOL respectively, they would have to secure the second kind of permit. But that isn’t given to taxi operators as of now. BGR India has reached out to both companies for comment. ALSO READ: Ola Share, UberPOOL may be banned in Karnataka Also Read - Uber cab service resumed in 31 cities in India with new Lockdown 4.0 guidelines
Besides putting checks on sharing, the new taxi scheme will also limit the number of cabs that can be plied by the operators, and the maximum price they can charge their customers. Every cab would be mandated to install GPS and panic button facilities too. The government’s revision of this taxi scheme comes after two years, and one of the main things driving this is their desire to “regulate” app-based taxi services that have grown significantly in the time period.
It is believed that the shared ride segment is the key for both Ola and Uber as it allows them to tap into new customers and increase their subscriber base. Both companies have been promoting their shared features aggressively, and are luring customers with steep discounts. And because of that they have been able to service a set of price-sensitive customers who would not hail taxis frequently. At present, shared rides account for about 30 percent of all rides booked on Ola and Uber. It is one of the most preferred options in metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and Hyderabad. ALSO READ: Ola Share registers 500% growth in one year
Last November, Ola rolled out the Ola Share Pass, a subscription-based service that offers carpooling at a flat fare. And the subscription itself was offered at a big discount so that more customers would join in. More than 20 million carpool rides had reportedly been pre-sold through the Ola Share Pass subscription. Uber, on the other hand, had been lobbying with the government to ease carpooling regulations such that even private cars could enroll for the service. Now, with the recent development, that might have to wait.