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Summary: Delhi’s aggregator scheme proposes more EVs, cap on surge pricing, and passenger safety mechanisms

The Delhi government has released a draft Motor Vehicles Aggregator scheme on January 24th. Under the policy, cab aggregators, quick commerce and other delivery and passenger transport services in New Delhi have to induct Electric Vehicles (EVs) in their fleet, cap surge pricing at designated fares, and more.

The document is open for comments until the 18th of February and stakeholders can respond to the policy document by writing to the Principal Secretary-cum-commissioner (transport) of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) or email at commtpt@nic.in with a copy to delhievcell@gmail.com.

Regulation of such aggregators has been an issue for many state governments with conflicts on surge pricing, licensing, and safety of female passengers. The new aggregator scheme says it is being introduced to bring aggregators in line with the Delhi government’s Electric Vehicles Policy, 2020 and in a report by the Economic Times, the Principal Secretary, of Delhi’s Transport department is quoted saying the new policy is based on the central government’s aggregator guidelines but tweaked to ‘suit the realities of Delhi’.

What are the obligations delineated for aggregators?

Registration of drivers, vehicles and aggregators

  • Aggregators will have to take a license from the transport department, which will be valid for a year at a time.
  • On-boarded drivers and their vehicles will also have to be registered on a portal to be set up by the transport department within 3 months of the enactment of the policy. The driver’s license, vehicle’s registration numbers and the public service vehicle badge number (if applicable) would be required for the same, however, the policy notes that a driver and their vehicle can be registered or integrated with multiple aggregators.

Timelines for including electric vehicles in the fleet

The document also sets timelines, based on types of vehicles, for aggregators to induct as EVs after they have received their aggregator license. It must be noted that the percentages denote the number of new vehicles added to the aggregator’s fleet after receiving the license. The policy also says that in the case of aggregators running a bike-hailing or sharing service all vehicles added have to be electric, and all in its existing fleet have to become electric in 2 years.

Non-compliance by aggregators with these targets shall lead to suspension of their license or a fine, or both by the Transport department.

  • For commercial 2 wheelers and commercial and passenger 3 wheelers:
    • 10% to be inducted as EVs within 6 months of getting aggregator license
    • 25% to be inducted as EVs in one year of getting the license
    • 50% to be EVs after 2 years of getting licensed.
  • For 4-wheelers which are passenger and commercial vehicles the targets are:
    • 5% to be inducted as EVs in 6 months
    • 10% to be inducted as EVs in one year
    • 25% to be inducted as EVs 2 years

Aggregators need to set up command control centres

Such aggregators will have to create a command and control centre in the NCT of Delhi and operational during the hours the aggregator’s services are operational.

  • These will mandatorily have to operate 24/7 for organisations providing passenger services
  • Will be able to monitor the movements of drivers and vehicles at all times
  • Will be able to access information about the origin-destination, route, and status of the panic button on any trip offered on the aggregator’s app.
  • Data regarding complaints lodged by drivers or consumers should be made accessible to the transport department by this centre.
  • Data regarding the number of vehicles in operation, other state vehicles providing services in Delhi, trips taken from Delhi, and further analytics should be available and be provided to the transport department in a prescribed format as and when required.

Safety mechanisms to be included by aggregators

  • Cooperation with law enforcement:  Cooperation should be extended in cases of investigations by law enforcement into any incident or compromise of rider safety, due to an act or omission by a driver on a trip.
  • Ensure GPS working in the vehicle: Aggregators will have to ensure that the GPS in a car used for ‘on-demand passenger transportation’ is working or provide for efficient resolution of issues with it.
  • Ensure assigned route taken: Passenger and driver should be notified through the mobile app if the vehicle is not taking the assigned route on the trip.
  • Identity of the driver to be confirmed: Through verification or confirmation by the rider, aggregators have to confirm that the identity of the driver is the same as that enlisted on its app.
  • More than 15% complaints a month: Appropriate action shall be taken by the aggregator against such driver who has complaints on 15% or more of the rides they take in a month. Further, the data referred to here has to be retained or collected by the aggregator for three months from the date of service.
  • Ratings less than 3.5 for a year: Remedial training and corrective measures must be undertaken by the aggregator to rectify issues. Their performance will also be monitored by the aggregator and the transport department for three months, after which the transport department can terminate their Public Service Vehicle in case there is no improvement.

Provisions for the comfort of consumers

  • Ceiling on surge pricing: Twice the base fare specified by the transport department from time to time is mentioned as the limit for surge pricing in the policy.
  • Compliance with law: App must be made compliant with Indian laws and rules notified by the Delhi government.
  • Customer support: Call centres should be set up by aggregators that provide passenger transport. The phone numbers and email addresses for the same shall be clearly displayed on the app and assistance will be provided to passengers and drivers in English and Hindi languages

Penalties for violations

The transport department of the Delhi government will be able to levy a fine, cancel the license and forfeit bank deposits of non-compliant aggregators. The policy outlines the following penalties and actions:

  1.  Not registering for a license or disclosing driver information: Rs 25,000 per vehicle will be the fine if an aggregator has not applied for their license or declared their drivers and vehicles after 3 months of notification of the policy.  After the 100th day of non-compliance, this fine would increase to Rs 500 per day, per vehicle.
  2. Non-compliance with EV targets: Rs 1,000 each day, per vehicle is the fine for an aggregator if it fails to induct the target of electronic vehicles in time. The number of vehicles will be the ones that comply with the target, the policy says.

Cancellation of license: Violation of the policy or any other rules of the transport department can lead to the cancellation or suspension of an aggregators license. This will be done after an investigation or after hearing the aggregator, however can be appealed to a competent authority notified by the transport department. In case of license cancellation, any bank deposit given will also be forfeited

Who will the policy apply to?

The policy specifies that aggregators and their ‘integrated vehicles’ plying in New Delhi with more than 50 two, three, or four-wheeler vehicles (except for buses) will be subject to the policy. These would also have to be registered under the Companies Act or Co-operative Societies Act or the Limited Partnerships Act and have a registered office in India.

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Aggregators under the policy as defined as:

“any person/entity which owns, operates, or manages a digital or an electronic facility or a web platform for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation, or connects a driver offering to deliver/pick up a product, package or parcel from a seller, e-commerce entity or consignor.”

In Brief: The central government’s 2020 aggregator guidelines

The Delhi government’s proposed scheme takes quite a few pointers from the Road Transport Ministry’s Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, 2020 on the safety and consumers related aspects of such apps. It had put forth:

  • Limiting surge pricing at 1.5 times the base far
  • Establishing a control room that can monitor rides
  • Establishing a 24×7 call centre to resolve customer complaints
  • Providing training and conducting mandatory police verification of drivers once they are onboarded
  • 12 Hour workday limits for drivers
  • Information about the app’s algorithm, payment to drivers, commission, incentives to drivers, etc. to be disclosed to the ministry.

Also read:

Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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