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Delhi HC to Delhi govt: Is Ola violating the new radio taxi scheme?

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The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government and traffic police to report on whether online cab aggregator Ola is violating HC orders by plying in the city, reports The New Indian Express. The HC had issued a ban on online cab aggregators in January this year, asking them to comply with the modified radio taxi scheme.

The Association of Radio Taxis (which includes Mega Cabs, Meru Cabs and Easy Cabs) issued a plea stating that ANI Technologies, the parent company of Ola was still operating in the city, violating the court order. The association also alleged that Ola was operating in Delhi despite orders on 29 July and 11 August which upheld the ban, for which it sought initiation of contempt against Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola’s CEO and founder. According to this ET report, the Delhi Transport Department has also joined in the contempt plea of the radio taxi association against Aggarwal.

To HC’s question on how Ola’s bills stated that they were running cabs on diesel and not CNG, the taxi association stated that all of Ola’s contracted taxis were diesel cabs with All India Tourist Permits (AITP). In July, Ola had contended that it was not amenable to Delhi government’s modified radio taxi scheme because it had AITP and hence did not need to apply for a licence to operate in the city. Ola also said that other non app-based taxi organisations came under the radio taxi scheme as well. It added that it did not own any of the vehicles on its platform, only connecting users to taxis.

Note that in Delhi, all public transport and commercial transport vehicles are required to run on CNG. To remedy its situation, Ola started adding more CNG vehicles to its platform. It also reportedly initiated talks with manufacturers and dealers to help its drivers exchange their diesel cabs with CNG vehicles. A TOI report stated that around 50% of Ola’s 25,000 vehicle fleet in Delhi NCR was already running on CNG and that it was adding 3,000 CNG vehicles this week.

In June, the Delhi Court had passed an order stating that the Delhi Transport Department could not reject the radio taxi licenses of Apra Cabs India Pvt Ltd and Serendipity Info Labs Pvt Ltd (subsidiaries/associates of Ola and TaxiForSure respectively) on the basis that they failed to submit a sworn affidavit, which declared that Ola/TaxiForSure were complying with the ban imposed by the Delhi government.

Read more about the radio taxi timeline here and our Ola coverage here

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