HYDERABAD: The Telangana Transport Department on Tuesday clarified that Uber had no permission to operate in Hyderabad and advised Hyderabadis to refrain from hiring the app-based cab service. “It has come to the notice of the department that certain cab operators are providing taxi/cab services without obtaining proper licences/permits from the competent authority. The Government of India has informed that one service provider by the name of Uber taxi services is engaged in web-based taxi services. A criminal case is reported against the permit holder of a vehicle associated with Uber company,” Telangana Transport Commissioner M Jagadeeshwar said in a statement.
“In the above circumstances, the general public, including the cab owners/drivers are informed not to associate with Uber company in any form. No permission was granted to the said company by the Transport Dept, Telangana Government,” he clarified.
The move comes in the wake of the rape of a woman by an Uber cabbie in Delhi last week. It is interesting to note that Uber had launched its services officially in Hyderabad in January this year after a “secret” launch in December last. Back then, it had noted in its blog, “A few weeks ago we rolled out secret Ubers in Hyderabad, and we’ve really enjoyed transporting you around the city in nawabi style. So we’re thrilled to make this official: Uber has launched in Hyderabad!” It went on to state that it had partnered with trendy eateries like Olive Bistro and Bombay Duck and boasted about “ferrying around Tollywood stars like Lakshmi Manchu and Sundeep Kishan.”
When contacted, the Transport Commissioner told Express, “The law provides regulations for owners/drivers of taxis/cabs. There are also separate taxi/cab regulations for any agency which is interested in providing these services. For any cab which would like to implement GPRS system or radio cabs, a separate permit is required. However, it has come to our notice that companies like Uber just provide services, but do not own the taxis. We don’t recognise such kind of people and they don’t have any place in the system.”
In the same breath, he admitted he was not aware of Uber’s presence in the city. Earlier, the Cyberabad Police held a review meeting. “We already have a cab-registration system and out of 13,000 cabs operating in the area, about 6000 have completed registration. I have directed the officers to finish the process by Dec 31,” said CV Anand, Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad.
On app-based cab services, he said, “Unlike radio cabs like Meru, in app-based companies like Uber and Ola, anybody can become a cab driver. We need to put in place some rules, and we are yet to take a decision whether to ban them or not.” A decision will be taken after meeting with the companies, on Thursday or Friday.