Cab aggregator Uber has resumed operations in Delhi, about a month after it suspended operations in the city. (hat tip – Deepak Abbot). At the time of writing this article, we were able to book cabs from multiple locations in the city. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Uber has said that it applied for a radio taxi license yesterday to resume operations in the city and is currently allowing only those drivers who have undergone re-verification of their Police clearance in the last six weeks. (Full statement below).
Note that competitor TaxiForSure had also applied for a radio taxi license earlier this month, while Ola was also considering a similar move. This was after Delhi Transport Department had brought Uber and other online cab aggregators under Radio taxi license by amending its Radio taxi regulations last month. It had said that these services will remain banned until it complies with these new norms and opts for a radio taxi license.
Earlier in the month, Uber had also withdrawn its plea from the Delhi High Court against its ban by the Delhi Transport authority. The company’s lawyer had told the court that they were exploring other available remedies in the law. Uber had earlier approached the Delhi Hight court after the Delhi government had banned Uber for “misleading consumers” by plying taxis with All India permits which is not allowed while offering point-to-point travel services in the city.
Differing government views
Interestingly, while Delhi government had insisted on these cab aggregators to apply for a radio taxi license, one of Kolkata’s suburban cities Bidhannagar had passed an order last week, recognising Uber as a technology company.
We also believe that cab aggregators shouldn’t be governed by radio taxi guidelines, because players like Uber are effectively a technology platform, wherein it allows drivers to list their cars and consumers to hire these taxis. It doesn’t own these taxis or employ drivers on its own. (Also read: On the responsibility, accountability and liability of platforms, marketplaces and aggregators)
Uber’s full statement (via WSJ)
Over the past few weeks, we have had many conversations with our rider and driver communities, and we are aware that they eagerly want Uber back on Delhi roads. Our driver-partners’ livelihoods had been severely impacted, and our riders were left without the platform they had come to rely upon for their daily needs.
Yesterday, Uber applied for a license under the Radio Taxi Scheme to reflect our commitment to providing riders with more options for safe and reliable transportation, including the ability to request a Radio Taxi on-demand.
Meanwhile, we continue to engage with the relevant Delhi authorities to work towards the Kolkata model, set by the Bidhannagar City Police, who have introduced new regulationsfor on-demand transportation technology aggregators. We believe this is the progressive model that ultimately puts the safety of consumers first, while recognizing the power of new technologies like Uber that will make city transportation safer.
As we resume operations in Delhi, we are only allowing driver-partners who have undergone re-verification of their Police clearance in the last six weeks to get back on the platform. For an additional layer of screening, we are implementing independent background checks on all driver partners, plus vehicle documentation reviews. Our teams have worked tirelessly to develop new safety features (including an in-app emergency button) nationwide, establish a dedicated incident response team and re-verify the full credentials of every driver-partner on the Uber platform in Delhi.
Connecting riders with a safe, reliable transportation option, while providing drivers with better opportunities is our unwavering mission, and we are setting an even higher standard than current industry requirements. Our commitment to make transportation safe in Indian cities has never been more absolute and we won’t rest till the job is done.