Sharing or pooling of cab rides could stop after an attempt by the Delhi government’s transport department to legalise it was junked. Pooling or sharing of cabs is illegal as per the Motor Vehicles Act 1998, but they continue to operate in the absence of any specific rules by the Delhi government. The Delhi government had, in July, said pooling of cabs would be deemed illegal once it implements its ‘City Taxi Scheme 2017’ — the draft rules it was preparing to “regulate taxi services, particularly those being run by cab-aggregators”, an official said.
Afterwards, the government decided to frame a separate policy — ‘Licensing and Regulation of app-based cab aggregators Rules, 2017’ — specifically for taxi services that can be booked through apps. But in October, the government changed its stance and considered removing a clause — which prohibited sharing of pool rides — from the draft rules, which it plans to implement by next year. This would have made pooling of rides legal.
In the absence of categorical rules for cab aggregators, all cabs in India have traditionally worked with a “contract carriage permit”, which stipulates that vehicles do not pick up or drop passengers during the journey. Once these rules are implemented, surge pricing too will become illegal, an official said.
The rules will also fix a maximum fare, charging beyond which will be illegal. The rules will also allow only those cab aggregators to operate who have a minimum of 100 taxis. Each aggregator will have to take a licence from the transport department. Further, it will be the responsibility of the aggregator to file a police complaint if a passenger reports misconduct during a journey.
Not reporting the offence could lead to a fine of Rs 1 lakh. The draft rules also mandate a panic button for customers, while the government will also build a 24×7 control centre for monitoring the cabs. K K Dahiya, Special Commissioner (Transport), said, “The rules are under consideration right now and will be finalised soon.”