Uber applies for license in Delhi under new conditions

Uber said it had applied for license under revised radio-taxi rules

Banned from Delhi in December after the alleged rape of a woman passenger by one of its drivers, Uber has applied for a license under the city's revised Radio Taxi Scheme that places tighter controls on taxi operators.

"Our driver-partners' livelihoods had been severely impacted, and our riders were left without the platform they had come to rely upon for their daily needs," Uber said in a blog post Thursday that announced that it had applied for the license that would require the ride-hailing company to have a fleet of at least 200 radio taxis directly owned or through an agreement with individual taxi permit holders.

The company will also have to meet a number of other conditions including offer a call center, have a registered office in Delhi and an official website with extensive information on its operations, and provide panic buttons in the vehicles.

"As we resume operations in Delhi, we are only allowing driver-partners who have undergone re-verification of their Police clearance in the last six weeks to get back on the platform," Uber said. The company is also providing an additional layer of screening by doing independent background checks on all its drivers, besides vehicle documentation reviews.

Uber had ruffled feathers in Delhi last month when its CEO Travis Kalanick appeared to blame the country's slipshod handling of background checks of drivers. Kalanick said in a statement that the company will work with the government "to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs."

The company's problems mounted after a woman passenger said that she had not had a response from Uber despite complaining about the driver in November. The rape victim is also considering suing Uber in a U.S. court for negligence, according to a report.

Uber has fared better in the eastern city of Bidhannagar where the Commission of Police passed an order regulating on-demand transportation technology aggregators as technology companies, in accordance with the country's Information Technology Act 2000, according to Uber. The company said it will work with the Delhi authorities to get them to adopt a similar approach.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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