The proposed Road Transport & Safety Bill, expected to soon be cleared by the government, has for the first time incorporated clauses to bring companies such as like Uber, termed “aggregators”, under the ambit of regulation.
One has to get a permit to operate radio-taxi services, under Section 74 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which specifies fleet size, verification and qualification of drivers and the condition of the vehicle, among others. However, experts say companies such as Uber use a loophole. They offer a platform through which independent taxi operators meet customers. Uber does not own a single cab.
Section 162 in the proposed Bill deals with such entities. It says an appropriate agency authorised by the National Transport Authority or the State Transport Authority may require an aggregator to furnish information relating to matters in their possession or control.
The information to be furnished includes the number of journeys undertaken on the services operated by the aggregator in the jurisdiction of its authority. Also, details on the structure of fares for those journeys and the distance covered by the vehicles used by the operator in those services.
Experts say in the existing system, aggregators are under no obligation, for instance, to undertake verification of the drivers who use its technology platform. Any commercially registered driver can register with Uber.