Rapido Plying In Guwahati Without Commercial Licence; Ola, Uber Drivers Irked
GUWAHATI: Around 15,000 Ola and Uber cab drivers are upset with the app-based two-wheeler taxi service Rapido. They are also irked with the government for allowing Rapido to ply without commercial license.
President of All Assam Cab Operators’ Union, Ismail Ali, talking to G Plus said, “We have submitted a memorandum to the government to stop the Rapido service as soon as possible but the government has not responded in any way.”
Ali expressed that in the case of Ola and Uber, unemployed youths take loan, sell their plot of land and thereafter manage to purchase a vehicle after which they again have to spend a lot to convert the private vehicle into a commercial one by availing commercial permit for certain states. The youths also have to pay to avail commercial driving licence and thereafter, the government keeps harassing the drivers.
They are harassed if they park somewhere to pick up passengers. Even during elections the commercial vehicles are forcefully requisitioned by the government for election duty.
“Now Rapido or any other service which has two-wheelers as taxis take all the passengers without availing any commercial license or commercial permit,” said Ali expressing that if the government does not resolve this issue at an early date, the cab association will plan a huge protest.
Reacting to the allegations, District Transport Officer (DTO) (Licensing) of Kamrup (Metro), Arun Bora, talking to G Plus said, “Cab drivers, three-wheeler and two-wheeler motorists do not require commercial driving licence to ply on roads.”
Bora said that two months ago a notification of the central government relaxed the light motor vehicle drivers from availing commercial driving license for driving commercial vehicles. He said even Ola, Uber taxi drivers do not require commercial driving license now as even they come under light motor vehicles category.
A source in the DTO said that Uber, Ola four-wheeler taxis do not require commercial licence but require commercial permits which the two-wheelers taxis do not require.
According to an online news portal, road transport ministry did away with commercial licences for taxis, autos and two-wheelers that are used to deliver food or products to doorsteps to boost employment opportunities.
The requirement under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, to obtain the transport licence would arise in case of medium/heavy goods and passenger vehicles only. No other vehicle will require any separate endorsement, even if they are used for commercial purposes, said the portal according to an advisory from the Road, Transport and Highways Ministry in 2018.
Professors, bank managers offering Rapido services as drivers in Ghy
Dr Vikramjit Kakati, a PhD holder from IIT Guwahati and presently working as an Associate Professor in the department of mechanical engineering in Assam Don Bosco University offers Rapido two-wheeler taxi service whenever he gets time.
“I offer Rapido services to connect with the common people and understand new trends of the society. I am a researcher and when I ride my bike I meet people who are not millionaires or billionaires but common people - mostly students - which help me in getting ideas on what to research on next. The new trends of the society can be easily known,” said Dr Kakati.
He also expressed that Ola and Uber have reached isolation as their services are deteriorating with time. The drivers are rude and cancel pick-ups whenever digital payment options are opted for. So, people are happy with Rapido as it is faster and cheaper.
Rapido service started in Guwahati on 17th December 2018 and since then 1,400 drivers have enrolled with the service where the company charges Rs 4 from the drivers for every trip.
“Many part time drivers are working with Rapido and teachers, bank managers and even government officials are working with us as Rapido drivers,” said Suman Acharjee, city head of Rapido, Guwahati.
There are 10 female riders offering Rapido services as well in Guwahati.
Acharjee questioned Ola and Uber officials as, according to him, Ola and Uber are also using two-wheelers without any commercial license.
After new Motor Vehicles Bill govt can regulate Uber & Ola
The new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, cleared by the Rajya Sabha on 31st July last, gives power to the government to regulate app-based taxi services to make customers’ cab ride experiences smooth and hassle-free.
The government has recognized and defined aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation, under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, did not recognize cab aggregators as a separate entity.
The new law (Motor Vehicles Act) is in place. The government will have the power to frame rules to regulate cab aggregators.
The government can now keep an eye on surge or arbitrary pricing, make them offer better services for passengers, such as well-trained drivers.