Home / Industry / Infotech /  Here’s what Ola, Uber will struggle to comply with in Karnataka

Bengaluru: The Karnataka state transport department has put in place a rule by which taxi aggregators in the state have to obtain relevant licences or stop operations immediately. The move could hurt Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) and Uber Inc, at least temporarily.

Here are the ten finer points of the rule which the two taxi service providers may find it hard to comply with.

1) No person shall act or permit any other person to act as an aggregator unless he holds an effective licence issued to him under these rules:

While both Ola and Uber have applied for the licence, they did so just a week ago, according to a senior transport department official. This is a seven-week delay from the date of issue of the notification, which essentially means these companies were operating this long without relevant clearances from the government. They are yet to get a licence.

2) Every taxi should have a display board inside it containing vehicle permit and the driver’s details such as photograph, name, driving license and badge particulars and ID card issued by police authorities. The display board shall be clearly visible to the passengers in the taxi:

Both Ola and Uber share driver’s name and phone numbers with the passengers. However, driving license and ID card issued by the police authorities are not displayed.

3) Every taxi should be fitted with single integrated GPS / GPRS capable vehicle tracking unit with printer, display panel and digital fare meter of certain specifications, capable of generating a printed receipts for passengers:

The calculation of the fare is an in-app exercise, while the cabs do not have a digital fare meter capable of generating a printed receipt. Instead, the bill is emailed to consumers besides an SMS notifying the total fare.

4) Every taxi should be fitted with a yellow coloured display board with word “taxi" visible both from the front and the rear. The board shall be capable of being illuminated during the night hours.

The cabs run by Ola and Uber do not have such display boards.

5) A driver shall have a minimum driving experience of 2 years:

This might be difficult to verify as drivers may fudge past driving records.

6) A driver shall be a resident of Karnataka for a minimum period of two years.

This might be difficult to comply with, as a number of drivers are immigrants, who have moved to the state or Bengaluru in particular in search of work. These drivers are essentially employees of vehicle owners.

7) A driver shall have a working knowledge of Kannada and any one other language, preferably English.

While residents of Karnataka are fluent with the language, drivers who have migrated from the rural areas may struggle with English. Again, drivers who moved in from other states may struggle to learn Kannada.

8) In any case, the fare including any other changes, if any, shall not be higher than the fare fixed by the government from time to time.

This is a passive reference to surge pricing. The fare mandated by the Karnataka transport department is 19.50 per km for air-conditioned cabs and 14.50 for ones without air conditioning. Incidentally, the cap mandated by the state government allows both Ola and Uber to charge multiples of their fares.

For instance, UberGo, Uber’s cheapest option, is priced at .7 per km in Karnataka, which implies that it allows Uber to charge consumers up to 2.7 times the cheapest rate. Ola’s cheapest variant, Micro, costs at 6 per km, which essentially allows surge pricing of up to 3 times the cheapest option.

9) Ensure that the antecedents of every driver of a taxi is verified by police before the driver is allowed to use the licensee’s platform.

The companies may struggle to keep a thorough check on driver profiles given the fast pace at which they are brining on drivers. This may lead to a few pilferages despite the best intent.

10) The licensee should ensure that the vehicles entered in his licence do not operate independently or accept bookings directly.

The taxi aggregators might struggle to comply as the communication with a driver is cut off if the driver switches of the phone with the respective apps. They are then free to go about accepting rides without intervention of Ola and Uber.

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