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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Web-based cabs run as usual — the ban notwithstanding

These services were banned on December 9 last year after the rape of a woman by an Uber taxi driver in Delhi.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: February 5, 2015 2:32:32 am
radio taxi, taxi ban, taxi ban cartoon Illustration: C R Sasikumar

Web-based cab services continue to operate in the city despite a ban and without any safeguards, while the Chandigarh Administration is unable to finalise a policy to regulate them, like the Delhi Administration.

These services were banned on December 9 last year after the rape of a woman by an Uber taxi driver in Delhi. The services comprised Uber, Meru and Taxi for Sure. Ola cabs escaped as it had obtained a stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The high court on Monday extended its stay on Ola and fixed February 23 for final arguments. Meru cabs too had moved the high court last month against the administration’s decision, but it did not get a stay. Hearing in its case is scheduled for February 5.

Still, Uber, Taxi for Sure and Meru are promoting themselves via messaging and sending promotional discount coupons and also advertising on the radio despite the fact that the UT Administration had issued directions that heavy penalty would be imposed on the web-based cabs if seen on the roads.

About a month ago, the administration had decided to amend its radio taxi scheme to allow operation of web-based taxis after incorporating various safety features on the pattern of Delhi. These included a panic button and a GPS system in the vehicle and creation of call centres. But there has been no progress.

Sources said that the matter was stuck because of the change of guard at the top. Administrator Shivraj Patil has retired, but his successor has not been appointed and the charge is held by Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, it is pointed out.

However, transport secretary Bhavna Garg said that the administration was working on the

policy and hoped to finalise it in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the radio taxi operators are unhappy that the administration is not enforcing its ban on web-based taxis. B S Dhillon, spokesperson of Mega Cabs, said, “STA has the authority to cancel the permits of all illegal cabs, but they are not doing this. We have submitted an application to the adviser to personally look into the matter. These cabs should not be allowed.”

But Satish Jain, secretary of the State Transport Authority, stated, “We do not have the power to impose a ban.’’ He added, “Our motor vehicle inspectors are issuing challans to all illegal cabs. From the date when the web-based services were banned, we have issued over 100 challans.”

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