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Last updated: August 11, 2016 at 13:43 pm

Delhi Govt.’s Innovation Killing Strategy: Forces Digital Meters For Taxi Apps, Bans Surge Pricing!

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Delhi Govt. wants to make sure that technology based solution providers are killed, innovation is stifled, choked to death and new age digital entrepreneurs think twice before launching a disruptive product which challenges status-quo.

In one of the most logically-challenged decision ever taken by a state government, AAP led Delhi Govt. wants all taxi apps to switch to digital meters instead of GPS-based meters and has decided to completely ban surge pricing.

These are some of the ‘regulations’ which Delhi Govt. have formulated to check the popularity and usefulness of app-based taxi providers like Uber and Ola in the national capital. The draft would be soon uploaded on their website, and would be open to public for further discussions.

Delhi State Transport minister Satyendar Jain said, “No one will be allowed to charge more than the fare set by the government, though they can charge less if they want to,”

Note here, that digital meters are mandatory for taxis in order to get their licenses to operate in New Delhi. Digital meters are the new form of old-styled meters which are prone to get manipulated in order to charge extra from the customer. On the other hand, GPS based meters are known for their accuracy as it’s based on point to point calculation of the distance and is fully transparent considering that it’s backed by Internet and technology.

In fact, military uses GPS based tracking for firing missiles, airlines use them for exact position calculations for flying aircrafts besides other prominent, mission-critical usages. But it seems Delhi Govt. wants to rely on stone age meters which can be manipulated easily.

This is certainly an appeasement strategy for traditional auto-rickshaw owners and kali-peeli taxi operators who have been striking against the meteoric rise of taxi-apps. Last month, we had reported how 85,000 auto-rickshaws and 15,000 kali-peeli taxi operators had united for a massive strike in Delhi, thereby crippling the roads and causing inconvenience to passengers.

After Delhi Govt.’s regulations policy were announced, union of auto-rickshaw owners were elated, and expressed their satisfaction.

Rajender Soni of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh said, “The app-based taxi services were not following the law and trying to take away our business. If they go by meter, then we have no issues,”

Notably, there were rumors that Central Govt. wants taxi-apps such as Ola and Uber to use traditional meters instead of GPS based meters; which was later denied by the Road Ministry. But it seems that Delhi Govt. actually wants such diktat for regulating app-based taxi services.

Some other suggestions which have been drafted in the regulation policy includes:

  • Only commercial vehicles can be used as taxis, and not private vehicles
  • Taxi aggregators need to define themselves as ‘transport providers’ and not ‘app based service providers’
  • Every taxi aggregator needs to apply for license before offering taxis on rent
  • Delhi Govt. will determine fares for such apps; and the fares cannot exceed
  • GPS based tracking system will be required by default
  • A 24*7 customer care needs to be established

Delhi is attempting to emulate Karnataka’s road transport policy for such app-based cab services which they launched in the month of June, and till date, only Ola is the only official license holder in that state.

However, the need for traditional meters, and complete ban on surge pricing is indeed alarming, as it changes the very business model of taxi-apps such as Uber and Ola and makes them a scapegoat of politics and power.

In a related news, Madhya Pradesh Govt. has also placed a complete ban on all taxi-apps till they formulate a regulation policy for the same.

Do share your opinion on the decision of Delhi Govt. by commenting right here!

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