With aim to bring Ola and Uber drivers under regulations, the transport department kicked off a crackdown against drivers plying without app-based permits. More than 500 driver partners were issued memos by transport department, after it received a negligible number of applications for the required permits last month.
Inspections were conducted at Kharghar, Sanpada, Nerul, Vashi, several parts of eastern and western suburbs of Mumbai, the island city, Thane and Kalyan.
According to a senior official of transport office, the operation has been kicked off to bring operators such as Ola and Uber under government regulation. We are now issuing them show-cause notices after surprise checks for documents. The drivers will have to come to the RTO and respond to the notices. Failing to comply this would liable them to pay fine of Rs 2,000.
Many drivers of ride-hailing apps are plying without permits, they can apply for permits which will cost Rs 25000 for vehicles and 2.6 lakh for 1400cc and above vehicles, added official. There are more than 40000 app-based taxis in Mumbai alone.
Sources said Drivers are reluctant to apply for the new permits due to excessive cost.
“We find the fees exorbitant. Either it should be free or subsidized by the government. You cannot expect drivers who are not doing good business these days to pay a permit fee as high as Rs 2.6 lakh,” Raju Patil, leader of the tourist taxi drivers union was quoted as saying.
Under the new state government’s city taxi scheme, drivers or owners using vehicles under app-based aggregators are supposed to get separate City Taxi Permits to do so. They also have to comply with several conditions aimed at keeping passengers safe and preventing over pricing.
In 2014, Ola and Uber had launched their services using all India tourist taxi permits. After the permits were issued, it had hampered the business of autorickshaw and taxi drivers. This led to protest from auto and taxi unions. Under pressure from the unions, the state government brought in the Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017 to make it a level-playing field for cabbies like Kaali Peelis, fleetcabs and aggregator cabs.
Recently, Uber opposing the new rules filed a petition in the Bombay High Court saying, many provisions in the new rules have a significant impact on drivers, riders and the ride-sharing industry.