The government on Tuesday released an advisory for states on licensing, compliance and liability of on-demand IT-based transportation aggregator taxis operating in the country, putting special emphasis on driver compliance and safety.
According to the guidelines, any driver that wishes to register with an on-demand transportation technology platform must have a driving license of the appropriate category and the licensee must obtain and review a police verification report for such person, together with self-attested copy of voter ID card, PAN card, residential address proof along with contact details of two family members.
The advisory follows after a driver of a cab-aggregator had allegedly raped a woman during a taxi ride.
The guidelines also say that any person who has been convicted, within the past seven years, of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or who has been convicted at any time for offences including fraud, sexual offences, use of a motor vehicle to commit a cognisable offence, a crime involving property damage, and/or theft, acts of violence, or acts of terror must not be permitted to use the licensee platform.
“Any driver that wishes to register with an on-demand transportation technology platform must hold a Reserve Bank of India KYC compliant bank account and must be of good character.”
As for the aggregator themselves, the company must be a digital intermediary/marketplace that canvasses or solicits for a passenger to connect with a driver satisfying the necessary eligibility conditions and operating a validly registered vehicle.
Also, the operator must provide either a web or a mobile application-based customer service and grievance redressal centre having an operational telephone number and email address of a grievance redressal officer.
“Licensee must establish a driver-training programme for drivers that use an on-demand transportation technology platform prior to the driver being able to use the platform,” the advisory says.
The guidelines seek to make one common frame of regulation for the on-demand cab services companies.
Currently, the Maharashtra government says that the ‘Panic Button’ inside the vehicle should connect to the company and then to the police control room but the advisory suggests that the button should immediately connect to police at one go.
There are some clashes as well in terms of a cap on the minimum number of taxis, limitations on fuel options, provisioning the colour of the taxi and customer feedback.
The advisiory also lists out guidelines for vehicle profile, working conditions for drivers, transparency and renewal of licenses.
It also gives power to the state to cancel or revoke a license if the operator is found guilty of flouting the guidelines.