Update: Uber has replied to some of our questions. Here’s what they have to say:
Uber is deeply committed to serving the community of Delhi. In December, as per the request of Delhi’s transportation department, we had taken the step of shutting down operations. They had ordered all web-based applications be shut down pending grant of a radio-taxi license, and Uber Delhi accordingly complied with the request. Today, each of the major transportation apps including Uber have taxi license applications in process. Each of the major transportation apps including Uber are also currently running in Delhi.
We are committed to obtaining this license but also wanted to clarify Uber’s current operating model. Since our re-launch we have adopted Pooch-O’s model, one already approved and endorsed by the transportation department. This allows Uber to legally operate, enabling safe, reliable rides to an underserved public while working out the details of a long-term solution with the government.
In regards to the status of the license application, Uber said that they had submitted the application with all required documents and information weeks ago, well before the deadline, and that only the Delhi transport department can throw light on status of application processing.
We haven’t heard back from Ola yet.
Earlier: The Delhi government has asked the Ministry of Communications & IT to block the online taxi booking apps of Uber and Ola in the city, reports Reuters. The government wants the two companies to stop operating in Delhi till their radio taxi licenses are processed and cleared.
The government has apparently also asked Uber to submit a sworn affidavit declaring that the company is complying with the ban on its services imposed by the government in December last year. Uber and other online taxi booking services were banned in Delhi following the rape of a passenger by one of Uber’s drivers in December 2014. Following which, the Delhi Transport Department decided to modify the radio taxi regulations and bring these services under its ambit.
However, the ban has been largely ineffective as Uber, which had suspended operations in December in Delhi, resumed its operations in the city in January after applying for a radio taxi license. However, competing services Ola and TaxiForSure had continued operations in Delhi.
We’ve written to both Uber and Ola, and will update if we hear back from them.
Last month, the Delhi transport department had apparently started a consultation with the Center to block the IP address of Uber and shut down its operations in the country if it didn’t get a radio taxi licence to ply. This move came a week after Uber had been given seven days to complete their radio taxi license application as per the new regulations or face rejection. Earlier, Delhi transport department had found certain deficiencies in the license applications of Uber, Ola, TaxiForSure and NTL Call Cabs, as per the recently amended Radio Taxi regulations and rejected their applications in the current form.