Following Delhi government's ban on mobile application-based taxi services providers, Karnataka Transport Authority today said all taxi aggregators must procure taxi operators' permit for plying in and around Bengaluru city. Aggregators such as Ola Cabs, TaxiForSure and Uber have so far been exempted from the permit because they do not own any fleet of their own, and are hence not classified at 'taxi operators'.
The authorities also instructed all aggregators to ensure that their drivers are verified by the local police before the end of this month, in order to continue operations.
"We have made it mandatory for all taxi aggregators to get a permit because they have to be equal stakeholders in ensuring passenger safety. They cannot just be focused on profits and not on safety," Karnataka Transport commissioner Rame Gowda told reporters after the meeting. "If the deadlines and rules are not met, we will penalise the drivers as well as these aggregators and the penalty for repeat offenders could be cancellation of licences."
The decisions were taken at a meeting on Tuesday, which was attended by several private taxi operators of Bengaluru, along with internet-based taxi aggregators like TaxiForSure, Ola Cabs, Zoom Car and CarsOnRent. Uber, which was also invited for the meeting, gave it a miss.
Besides the taxi operators and officials of the transport department, the meeting was also attended by Bengaluru Commissioner of Police M N Reddi.
In July this year, Karnataka transport authorities had booked over 400 taxis affiliated to various operators, including Uber for permit violations. However, the Karnataka high court had later stayed the government's order.
Karnataka authorities have upped their guards on passenger safety following a rape incident that rocked the national capital over the weekend. In response to the incident, on late Monday evening Delhi authorities banned all taxi service providers who use web based technology and do not have the requisite permits from the authorities.