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Transport authorities struggle to regulate app based taxis in Bangalore

RTA has seized about 100 phones and sealed the offices of Uber and Taxi For Sure for failure to comply with 25 norms.

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore |
December 19, 2014 12:51:47 pm

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Despite their efforts to regulate technology based taxi aggregators like Uber and Taxi for Sure, transport authorities in Karnataka are learning that virtual world operations are difficult to monitor unlike regular taxi services.

Over the last 10 days transport authorities in Bangalore have conducted raids on the offices of Uber and Taxi for Sure to seize physical assets like documents and computer systems in an effort to get taxi aggregators to register their business with the transport department. Despite the efforts of the transport department aggregator taxi services continue to accept and operate taxis in Bangalore through their mobile apps thumbing their noses at the efforts to physically regulate services. In the last 10 days Regional Transport Authorities have seized about 100 phones and sealed the offices of Uber and Taxi For Sure for failure to comply with 25 norms prescribed for city taxis.

“These app based taxi services are MBAs and IIT graduates. We have been assuming that they would abide by the law. But they have been taking it for granted and its unacceptable,” Transport Commissioner Rame Gowda said.

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According to the secretary of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association, Radhakrishna Holla, the app based taxi operators have an online infrastructure where merely seizing physical assets will not make any difference to their operations. “Their network will continue to operate and even grow undeterred. In the case of Taxi-for-Sure the enforcement officials may restrict their movement because their cabs have clear identification but Uber cabs have no branding symbols so they cannot be traced,” Holla,said. Regional Transport Authorities (RTA) said they were ready to regularise the services of the aggregators if they simply register themselves and comply with guidelines. “Even ordinary operators deposit the security amount and conform to safety measures prescribed for the safety of passengers. They aggregator services must as matter of ethics withdraw from service until they can ensure the safety of customers,” Rame Gowda said.

According to an RTO official the transport department in coordination with the Information Technology department is contemplating writing to online app providers to prevent download of taxi apps if cab-aggregators don’t toe the line.

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