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Safety the focus, drivers need minimum 5 years stay in State.
The new rules for taxi aggregators issued by the Government on Wednesday will mean that they will have to toe the line on passenger safety. But, for the moment, they have been given some leeway in pricing. However, this is likely to change at the end of the 30-day window for people to voice their objections to The Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016.
Police verification mandatory
Aggregators will have to ensure that all their taxis display a board showing the permit and details of the Driver, such as photo, name, licence and badge number along with an ID card issued by the police. Each cab must have a panic button, which can be used by the passenger without any interference by the driver.
In a bid to regulate the men at the wheel, the rules state that no driver can have a drunk driving violation or any other cognisable offence under the Criminal Procedure Code for a period of seven years before joining the aggregator.
Knowledge of Kannada essential
Drivers will need a minimum experience of two years. In addition, they will have to prove that they have been staying in the State for a minimum of five years and can speak Kannada and another language, preferably English.
No surge pricing?
While government officials had previously stated their opposition to the ‘surge pricing’ model adopted by aggregators, the rules simply state that the fare collected shall be as per the digital meter and cannot be more than the fares fixed by the government. Currently, the city taxi rules permit cab operators to charge up to Rs. 19.5 per km for an air-conditioned taxi. This means that for some aggregators, who charge up to Rs 9.75 per km, Surge Pricing is possible.
“Currently, the rates are the same as the existing rates as the rules are new. In the future, the Rate may change,” a senior official in the Transport Department said.
Aggregators will have to maintain exhaustive records for a period of one year of trips operated. This will include customer details and complaints, which will have to be made accessible to authorities, if necessary. A grievance redressal officer will have to be appointed for dealing with customer complaints.
The pricing story
For passengers, the new rules mean that rates will be regulated to some extent. Under the current rates fixed by the government, surge pricing, which pushes the rates to more than Rs. 19.5/km will not be possible. Under the new rules, the fare cannot cross the fare fixed by the government. Driver details will have to be displayed in the taxi after approval by police authorities.
However, official sources said that the government will mostly relook the existing rates once the 30-day time period for filing of objections ends. This leaves the matter of surge pricing in ambiguity.
The rules insist on drivers living in the State for a minimum of five years and a ban on drivers convicted of offences like drunk driving, fraud, sexual offences.
Aggregators will have to immediately suspend the access of a driver to the platform on receipt of a complaint that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The suspension cannot be lifted till an enquiry into the matter is completed by the aggregator.
Taxi aggregator Uber, in a statement, said they it will respond or comment only after studying the rules.
* Cabs will be fitted with a yellow-colour display board with the word ‘Taxi’ visible both from the front and the rear
* Vehicles have to be less than 6 years old at the time a driver signs up with an aggregator
* Fare shall be charged only from the point of boarding to the point of exit.
* No passenger shall be charged for dead mileage
* Permit holder can operate with multiple aggregators simultaneously
* Aggregator to send photo of driver along with vehicle registration number and other details to customer’s mobile before boarding
* Aggregator must publish policy on taxi fare, registration of taxis and drivers on its platform or app
* Aggregator must publicise grievance redressal mechanism
From: The Hindu
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