Cab aggregator Ola has failed to fulfill its promise of raising a fleet of 200 electric vehicles (EVs) in Nagpur, including cars, rickshaws and bus, within a month of its pilot launch in the city in May last year.
About a year later, only 67 cars and 16 rickshaws have been registered in the city so far. At the launch, in the presence of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Ola had also promised to establish 50 charging points in different parts of the city but so far, only 20 have come up at 5 charging stations.
Questionnaire sent by The Indian Express to Ola did not elicit any response.
Nagpur’s Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Sharad Jichkar told The Indian Express: “We have asked them (Ola) to pay Rs 1 lakh as aggregator licence fee for registering 100 app-based vehicles. But they haven’t yet paid it. They say they are a leasing company not the aggregator. We have also told them that if they want to register over 100 vehicles in same name, they will have to seek Transport Department permit.”
Jichkar said, “So far, we have registered 67 e-cars and 16 e-rickshaws under the City Cab scheme launched last year.”
Aggregator is the one who manages the entire running of the cabs by operating the communication among passengers, cab-owners and drivers through an app-based centrally operated system.
Another senior RTO officer said: “Ola says the aggregator is another company called ANI Technologies. But the matter has got stuck up due to some radio cab owners in Mumbai moving the High Court there over some issue regarding the City Cab scheme.”
At the launch of the scheme on May 26, it was told that a fleet of 200 e-vehicles was being introduced by a collaborative partnership of Ola Cabs and Mahindra Group along with the Government of India. While Ola has contributed 100 e2o Plus cabs of Mahindra made at the outset, 100 more will be contributed by other companies such as Tata Motors, Kinetic, BYD and TVS, it was then told.
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari had said: “The new e-transport is indigenous, cost-effective, import-substituting and pollution-free and will be duly taken to all parts of the country to fulfill the target of shifting the road transport completely to electrically charged vehicles by 2030. In doing so, we will ensure that people will not lose their jobs. We will see to it that more jobs are created. We will give loans for shifting from fossil fuel vehicles to electric ones.”
“Along with EV, the government will also shift the petrol and diesel transport to other environment-friendly fuels like ethanol like bio-diesel, CNG (compressed natural gas) and LNG (liquefied natural gas),” he had said.
In June last year, drivers of Uber challenged the city taxi scheme in the Bombay High Court. Uber claims that state lacks legislative competence to regulate app-based cab services as Center regulates app-based cab services through the Motor Vehicles Act. The drivers thought restrictions were excessive and arbitrary in nature.
The Maharashtra government had formed a fare committee in January last year to decide the minimum and maximum fares for these cabs.While the draft policy of the fare committee is out, it is yet to be implemented.