Enforcing taxi ban far from a smooth ride

A day after the ban was imposed on December 8, cab-booking services, including Uber and Ola Cabs, went about their business as usual.

Written by Ananya Bhardwaj , MAYURA JANWALKAR | New Delhi | Published: December 11, 2014 2:50 am

The ban came zipping in the fast lane but its enforcement since has been far from a smooth ride.

After three days of floundering on how to stop unregistered radio taxis from plying, the Delhi government on Wednesday took the first step by impounding 13 taxis for various violations. “Our enforcement teams have impounded 13 vehicles — some belonged to Ola Cabs, some were plying with an expired permit and many had Haryana registrations,” a senior official said.

The Delhi traffic police has fined 1,542 taxis for permit violations in the last two days. “We are focusing on taxis. We are cracking down on all traffic circles across the capital,” a traffic police officer said.

A day after the ban was imposed on December 8, cab-booking services, including Uber and Ola Cabs, went about their business as usual.

The Delhi Police had, on Tuesday, written to the Transport department to issue a notice to Uber to stop its operations in Delhi.

While Transport department officials conceded that cracking down on the banned taxi services operating without their stickers would be difficult, officials said they would have to use “technology” to go after the unlicensed taxis.

While the department expects its action against unlicensed taxis to succeed, officials said they were hamstrung by a manpower crunch. The strength of the department’s enforcement team is only 186.

While officials said they were examining various aspects of the radio taxi operations including Uber’s business model — an e-commerce platform that acts like a marketplace bringing drivers and customers together — they declined to divulge details of their immediate course of action.

The department is considering blocking websites of the web-based cab-booking services by roping in the government’s Information Technology department, an official said. “We will enforce GPS in all cabs. We will need to link their server to the government’s control room. We will be doing that very shortly,” another official said.

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