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Uber Repurcussions – Ola, TaxiForSure Too Banned To Operate [Updated]

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[Update 2]

It seems that many popular app based cab rental services do not have licenses to operate. Yes, they have been operating without a license till date (This can happen only in India). Uber rape case incident is having a snowball effect with other operators also getting affected seeverely. According to ET report, Delhi Transport Department has issued a public notice on Monday saying only Mega Cabs, Meru Cabs, Easy Cabs, Chanson, Yo Cabs and Air Cabs have license to operate radio taxis and all other taxi services are illegal till licensed.

See the copy of public notice!

Uber Repurcussions – Ola, TaxiForSure Too Banned To Operate [Updated]
Public Notice by Delhi Transportation Board
The list does not contain names of mobile app based cab operators like Uber, OLA and TaxiForSure, which means they will not be able to operate until they get the requisite licenses.

It is also expected that other states and cities will also take action, and ban them if they do not have the requisite permissions (which, I guess they do not!). While we can understand this in case of Uber, Indian operators like Ola and TaxiForSure not having licenses is a real surprise!

We will keep updating this post as new reports come in!

[Update 1]

The Delhi Government has taken swift action of the Uber Rape case incident – They have banned all operations by private cab service Uber with immediate effect and blacklisted it from providing any transport service in the national capital in the wake of the alleged rape incident in a taxi plying for it. The Transport Department has also cancelled the permit and registration certificate of the taxi (DL1YD 7910) and driving licence of the accused.

While this may come across as a knee-jerk reaction, in our view, Uber was extremely negligent in carrying out the background check of the drivers [Read the report below we filed earlier]

India is Uber’s biggest market after the US, and this incident is surely a big jolt in their plans to expand aggressively in India. We will need to wait and see how other state governments react to this banning from Delhi Government. It might happen that other states may also follow suite.

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[Previously]

[Read the entire report we filed earlier in this regards below]

So finally the police have arrested the Uber cabbie who raped the 27 year old woman returning home after a dinner with friends on Saturday night.

The woman who was working with a Gurgaon based finance company had gone for a dinner to Vasant Vihar and boarded the Uber cab at 9.30 pm. Not too late, one would say!

Uber New Delhi

She dozed off in the backseat only to find the cab stranded in a deserted place after waking up. The cabbie thrashed her, threatened to kill her and assault her sexually with a rod if she tried to raise a ruckus or offered resistance. After raping the girl, he dropped her home and is even said to have given her a missed call.

The girl somehow managed to click a picture of the cabbie and the number plate of the vehicle he was using which helped the police trace and nab the culprit.

The car was later found abandoned in Mathura and the driver was arrested too. Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner with the Delhi police, has promised strict legal action against Uber for violations including a failure to check whether the driver, named as Shiv Kumar Yadav, had a clean police record and the lack of a satellite location device in his car.

“Every violation by Uber will be evaluated and we will go for legal recourse,” said Verma, saying police would take legal advice before opting to press a criminal or civil case.

The San Francisco based cab service has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late.

The cab service has received a lot of negative publicity in the recent past over its driver screening in the US as well. Besides that, the company has also had to apologize “for comments by an executive who suggested spending $1 million for “digging up dirt” on journalists investigating the firm.”

Questions have also been raised over the cab company’s misusing private location information of its customers.

Barely two days before this incident shook our capital city, Travis Kalanick, the Uber CEO had acknowledged the company’s “significant growing pains” and mentioned that “we also need to invest in internal growth and change,” in a blog post.

“Acknowledging mistakes and learning from them are the first steps.” He had said this as the company announced their move of having raised $1.2 billion from another round of funding, valuing the cab service at $40 billion, much more than Twitter, Dropbox and American Airlines.

He said the latest financing round will help the company make “substantial investments,” particularly in Asia.

Since Asia is vital to the growth of Uber’s fortunes, this incident is going to affect Uber in a big way. The gruesome incident has re-triggered a worldwide debate about the company’s screening procedure before taking in new cabbies under its fold.

This is being called an act of “criminal negligence” by the company which wants to pitch itself as the market leader in the region.

While prior police verification does not rule out the possibility of such an act in the future, it surely does act as a deterrent as the drivers are made aware that law enforcement agencies know about them.

In this case, even the address furnished to Uber by the culprit has turned out to be wrong. Another BIG question mark- WHY didn’t Uber check up those basic details?

Either the driver already had a criminal past which he was trying to hide or perhaps thought that he would be able to evade the police if he ever did commit one.

Was Uber sleeping, or they did not think it necessary to carry out a background check?

“The accused driver was not subjected to police verification, mandatory for every public service vehicle operating in the capital. The company did not do a background check. We have issued a notice to the company’s representative to join the investigation on Monday and get their statements recorded. The company will face legal action for gross negligence,” Madhur Verma told The Telegraph.

Not only that, there was no GPS and the only link which Uber had with the accused was a smartphone app, which he exited after the incident and later switched off, which made it impossible to track him.

This is in gross violation of the company’s own claims.

Their Delhi site says, “Safety is our #1 priority and in India, Uber exclusively partners with registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government-issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance.”

So much for the tall claims made by them!!

The social media has been abuzz with activity. Twitter, in particular, has been flooded with messages from past customers who have been urging everyone on the networking site to delete the Uber app from their phones.

“Uber didn’t rape the girl, they raped our trust, our sense of relying on their service, and our confidence that they are true to their duty!” tweeted Dia.

Regular users are visibly shaken up too.

“I used to think that Uber cabs are fitted with GPS and that they are constantly under the company’s radar. I had been using them regularly for getting back home after a late night at office or a dinner out with friends. But I deleted the app yesterday,” said 32 year old Neha Malhotra who works with a Mumbai based MNC.

A Nagpur based friend who used Uber at least two-three times a week for commuting is beginning to have second thoughts about using the cab service too.

This Facebook post from a blogger friend Abhishek Bhatnagar’s wall has further eroded my faith in this radio taxi service.

Abhishek Bhatnagar

A statement from Uber spokesperson Evelyn Tay said: “Our thoughts are with the victim of this terrible crime and we are working with the police as they investigate. We will assist them in any way we can. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following allegations of a serious incident, which we have done.”

Will their sympathy at any level help the rape victim get over the trauma and the mental scars?

And does that absolve them of the responsibility to check out any of their drivers’ antecedents?

Ok, the latest twist in the case is that the culprit Shiv Kumar Yadav has now admitted to having served a seven month sentence in 2011 for a rape in Mehrauli area of Delhi in 2011.

Hats off, Uber!!!

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