BENGALURU: Bengaluru Police Commissioner M N Reddi on Tuesday said taxi aggregator companies like Ola and TaxiForSure would be held liable for criminal activities by cab drivers who have signed with them.
At a press conference held with the Transport Commissioner, Reddi said police will work with the department to check cabs that are found violating permit conditions and no violations would be tolerated. The move comes in the light of the Delhi rape incident and the subsequent defence by taxi aggregators that they were not “transport companies”.
Police are also insisting that all cab operators in the city undergo police verification by December 31 or face action. There are 11 taxi aggregators, besides 71,245 cabs/taxis and 3,539 city taxis registered with the Transport Department.
Speaking out against taxi aggregators, Transport Commissioner Rame Gowda said the companies must register themselves with the Transport Department in order to continue functioning. They would also be responsible for ensuring that all taxis that they work with complied with the permit conditions for city taxis laid down in section 74 and 84 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.
In case this registration process is not completed, they would not be allowed to operate. The Centre on Tuesday asked all states and Union Territories to ensure stoppage of web-based taxi services, including Uber.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday also made a statement in the Rajya Sabha in which he said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs has advised the State Governments/UT Administrations to ensure that operations of the web based taxi services are stopped and such service providers which are not licensed with the state governments/UT administrations are prohibited to operate till they get themselves registered with the state governments/UT administrations.”
These conditions include informing the Regional Transport Authority about any changes in office address as well as the installation of electronic digital meters and a connection with the control room of the company approved by the RTA as well as a ban on charging service, dead mileage charges for services.
The rules also say that the driver must be a resident of the state for at least 10 years besides having a minimum experience of two years of driving a light motor vehicle.
Both commissioners held a meeting with several taxi operators in the morning and several companies like Taxi For Sure, Ola, Carzonrent, Zoomcar as well as members of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association participated. Uber, the taxi booking service which was banned in Delhi following the incident, was absent and officials said there was no response to their invitation.
“These operators have to register today itself since we will begin intensive checks from tomorrow to ensure that permit conditions are being met. For the first offence, the fine will be `1,000, for the second offence, the fine will be `2,000 and for the third, their permits/licence will be cancelled,” Rame Gowda said. Reddi also said drivers could apply for police clearance at the police commissioner’s office or online. “We will check if they are involved in any criminal cases and approve them only if they are not,” he said.