Update: Zoomcar has clarified in an email to all its registered users that it’s operating as normal in Bangalore.
“We would like to clarify directly to our members, that Zoomcar is not a taxi operator, provider or aggregator, and has not been banned from operating in Bangalore. We have confirmed this directly with the Karnataka Transport Department.”
Earlier: Uber, TaxiForSure, Carzonrent and Zoomcar have been banned from operating in Karnataka, after the Home Ministry had issued an advisory to this effect, earlier this week. Olacabs has been allowed to continue its operations in the state, as it apparently registered itself at the Electronics City RTO in Bangalore a few days back.
The other taxi operators that have been allowed to continue operations in the state are Meru Cabs, EasyCab, Bangalore Cabs, Megha, Spot City, Rapid and KSTDC.
In Karnataka, Uber & Zoomcar operate only in Bangalore, TaxiForSure in Bangalore & Mysore, and Carzonrent in Bangalore, Mysore & Mangalore. Interestingly, Carzonrent has claimed that it has all the necessary licenses, while Zoomcar is not a taxi-hailing service as it rents out self-driven cars.
Earlier, Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy had told reporters in Belagavi that they will be banning Uber from Thursday if its not registered with the State government. And Bangalore City Police had also ordered all cab drivers in the city to get themselves verified by December 31. Bengaluru Police Commissioner MN Reddi told theEconomic Times that drivers can apply for verification online by paying Rs 250, following they will verify the driver and provide a clearance certificate.
Earlier (December 10): There seems to be differing voices within the existing government: While the Home ministry has advised banning online taxi service providers across India, the transport minister Nitin Gadkari has told reporters yesterday that banning Uber cannot be a solution.
He said that electronics is driving several new developments in transport systems and the lacunae in these systems should be fixed, rather than banning them. “Banning the railways for train accidents, taxis for taxi accidents and buses for bus accidents is not correct”.
Gadkari also proposed a digitized driver license system on the lines of United Kingdom that will allow citizens and authorities to view details about a driver including his license certificate and track record among others.
System of giving drivers license is faulty, new digitalized system will be designed where every1s track record can be viewed: Nitin Gadkari
— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2014
Hyderabad bans Uber
Meanwhile, Hyderabad has become the second city to ban Uber, reports The Times of India. Hyderabad’s joint transport commissioner T Raghunath told the publication that Uber had not obtained license from the Regional Transport Authority to operate its services in the state and the company has been operating illegally until now. The problem with this however is that the state government is viewing Uber as just another radio taxi company while Uber is technology platform that aggregates taxis. (Read: On the responsibility, accountability and liability of platforms, marketplaces and aggregators ).
Karnataka asks for detailed verification
The Karnataka government is not planning to ban Uber, although the transport authorities have asked for a comprehensive verification of all private taxi operators in Bangalore, reports The Economic Times .
Transport minister Ramalinga Reddy told the publication that the “developments in Delhi will have a bearing on Karnataka” but they are not considering “extreme actions as banning Uber’s service in the city”. He also said that a Karnataka High Court order last year has allowed state permit holders to offer cab services in the city.
Bangalore City Police has also ordered all cab drivers in the city to get themselves verified by December 31, Bengaluru Police Commissioner MN Reddi told the Economic Times that drivers can apply for verification online by paying Rs 250, following they will verify the driver and provide a clearance certificate.
Paytm responds on wallet allegations
Paytm, whose wallet is used by Uber, has clarified that users can transfer all their wallet money back to their account. This was in response to a Business Standard article that had alleged that Uber customers cannot withdraw money from the Paytm wallet and are forced to use this balance on other Paytm services like online recharge and their e-commerce marketplace.
What the report seems to have missed however is that Paytm is a semi-closed wallet that allows consumers to use this wallet across various third-party merchants. Paytm claims to currently have 15,000 merchants including Bookmyshow, Zovi, MakeMyTrip, Shopclues, HomeShop18 and Fabfurnish among others.
Uber Case Timeline until now
– Uber driver rapes a woman: A 27 year old woman was raped by one of the Uber drivers who was part of the company’s recently launched low-cost India-only service UberGO on Saturday night.
– Delhi Police investigates and flags several security issues with Uber: Following the investigation, Delhi Police raised several security concerns against Uber including no driver verification & background checks, no live GPS tracking system independent of the phone and no driver license among others.
DCP (north) Madhur Verma mentions that the driver was also a repeat offender and had faced rape charges in 2011, something which Uber didn’t check while hiring him.
– Uber Statement : Uber says that it has provided the local authorities with all relevant details that includes driver details (name, age, photo, complete driver’s license details, bank verified address) vehicle details, (license, registration, insurance, state-issued driver permit) and trip details (trip data, route, pick-up & drop-off location). It also mentions that it exclusively partners with registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance.
– Delhi Govt consider cancelling Uber’s permit : Delhi government considers cancelling the permission of Uber and scrutinise the permits of all private taxi services. It also sends a noticeto Uber under the section 161 of CrPC and is considering legal action against the company for failing to run background checks on drivers before onboarding them.
– Delhi Govt bans Uber : Delhi Government bans Uber’s services in the city saying that it is “misleading consumers” by plying taxis with All India permits which is not allowed while offering point-to-point travel services in the city.
Mathur said that cabs plying customers point-to-point in Delhi, have to follow the Radio Taxi Scheme that includes guidelines like having taxi parking space & office space for call centers among others. However we believe these radio taxi guidelines doesn’t apply to platforms like Uber, since it is essentially a tech platform that allows drivers to list their cars and consumers to hire these taxis. It doesn’t own these taxis or employ drivers on its own.
– Delhi Govt bans all unlicensed taxi services, including Ola, TaxiForSure : The Delhi transport department announces a list of licensed six radio taxi services and says no other taxi service providers are allowed to provide services in Delhi, until they get a license from the department.
– FIRs filed against Uber : Verma says that they have filed an FIR against Uber for negligent conduct. He adds that a separate FIR is filed against Uber under Section 420 (cheating) of IPC and are also considering Section 188 of the MV Act. Verma says that Uber had cheated consumers by claiming to provide safe taxi rides with verified drivers.
– Karnataka Govt was looking to ban Uber in July this year : Karnataka government was looking to book around 450 cabs, most of which was affiliated to Uber, for operating intra-city routes with an all-India permit back in July this year. However, the Karnataka high court had stayed this move back then, as indicated by a TOI report .
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police has also asked crime branch to collect and verify details of cab service providers and drivers contracted by them.
– Home Ministry advises ban of online cab booking services: The Home ministry has advised all state governments & union territories to ensure that operations of online taxi services like Uber, Olacabs and TaxiForSure among others are stopped until they register themselves with state administrations.
– Uber had received complaints about the accused driver last week: Another woman passenger, Nidhi Shah, had apparently complained to Uber about the accused driver last week, to which the company had responded that they will look into the matter, however there was reportedly no further action on this.
— Nidhi Shah (@nps2113) December 8, 2014
— Nidhi Shah (@nps2113) December 9, 2014
However, it seems like Uber’s customer service team seems to be now focusing on similar requests
Uber’s customer service team working overtime! Replied to my month year old complaint about a driver’s misconduct. pic.twitter.com/RzKozcPt0b
— rati chaudhary (@ratichaudhary) December 10, 2014