[Updated] Road Ministry Clarifies – No Proposal For Uber/Ola Cabs to Use Taxi Meters!
Update[1 Aug 2017]: The Ministry of Road & Highways has clarified on Twitter that no such proposal is being considered by the Ministry. Here is the Tweet
With reference to media reports on taxi aggregators being asked to use taxi meters – no such proposal is being considered by the Ministry.
— MORTHINDIA (@MORTHIndia) July 30, 2016
Previous Headline: Govt. Strikes Back – Asks Uber/Ola To Use Taxi Meters, Not GPS; Is Protectionism Going Too Far?
Road and Transport Ministry is now asking taxi hailing apps Ola and Uber to ditch their usage of GPS for calculating fares and instead use the old fashioned taxi meters for the same.
Reportedly, using GPS for calculating fares is against Motor Vehicles Act.
An unnamed official from Transport Ministry shared, “Taxi aggregators are currently violating the law by measuring distance through GPS. The Motor Vehicles Act clearly says that they have to go by the taximeter.”
He added, “We have told both Ola and Uber during the recent meetings that they have to fix this problem immediately,”
Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari informed Rajya Sabha that his Ministry is forcing guidelines for regulating taxi hailing apps; and the same assurances have been earlier provided by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.
In short, the Govt. is forcing new age tech based solution providers to change their very business model, and go back to stone age where the rules were set by the arrogant taxi operators, and the customer was not the boss, but another commodity.
This strange yet anti-business diktat is clearly influenced by the strikes and protests conducted by yellow-black taxi operators and auto-drivers against the rising dominance of Ola and Uber. We had reported this week how the protests which started since last year and adversely affected Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai has now reached Delhi.
The 3-day strike which crippled the National Capital (along with relentless rains) finally ended on Thursday, but not before igniting anti-innovation stand by the Govt.
Interestingly, usage of GPS consists of combining data from satellites, cell sites and WiFi in order to calculate the distance and the subsequent charges. Transport Ministry may be unaware, but defense organizations including Army, Air Force and Navy uses the same technology to hit their targets.
Thankfully, Motor Vehicles Act does not cover our military establishments.
Some other regulations which can be placed on Ola/Uber includes cap on surge pricing, using digital taximeters and ditching GPS, cap on the fleet expansion and more.
The practice of protectionism by Govt. is going a bit too far here. This decision has the potential to kill innovation, discourage entrepreneurs from taking that plunge and scare away investors from the country.
The stand taken by some narrow minded state government politicians by imposing unnecessary ‘ecommerce tax’ is now visible in the taxi app business as well.
Should Govt. kill taxi hailing apps in order to protect traditional businesses?
Do share your views by commenting right here!