Uber taxis seized in Delhi for running without license

The Delhi police has said that three ride-hailing services did not have the required licenses to operate

Uber's logo

Uber's logo

Delhi police said 120 ride-hailing taxis linked to Uber Technologies and two Indian operators have been impounded, as the companies did not have licenses to operate.

The drive against these companies using Web-based technologies was the result of their continuing operations despite a prohibition on their services in the city until they obtained a license from the Delhi Transport Department, police said Friday.

"I am not against any App based taxi aggregator. They just need to follow the rules," tweeted Muktesh Chander, Delhi's special commissioner of police for traffic.

Following the alleged rape of a woman passenger by an Uber driver last year, the Delhi transport authorities had initially banned the service of operators using smartphone apps to book rides, but then asked the operators to seek licenses under the city's revised Radio Taxi Scheme.

The companies, however, continued to operate the service under cover, according to the police. The authorities also considered asking the Indian government to block user access to the apps of these operators under local Internet rules.

Uber said in January that it had applied for a license under the new rules, which 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.

Companies also have to meet other conditions such as offering a call center, have a registered office in Delhi and an official website with information on its operations, and provide panic buttons in the vehicles. Uber was of the opinion that the button should be incorporated in its app, a feature it later introduced, but the department has called for physical panic buttons in the vehicle.

The applications of these companies to operate in Delhi were rejected on Wednesday, according to the Press Trust of India.

Another Uber driver was accused recently of forcibly trying to kiss a woman passenger, which probably led to the police crackdown this week on the ride-hailing companies that were known to operate under cover for nearly six months.

ANI Technologies' Ola, the largest operator in the country, acquired TaxiForSure in March for US$200 million. The two services are operating as separate entities. Ola is being probed by the Competition Commission of India for predatory pricing, which allegedly led to it spending more than its revenue per trip on offers to drivers and customers.

Uber said it could not comment on how many vehicles had been seized but added that it wasn't "a lot." The company said it was awaiting new government guidelines to seek the necessary approvals. Ola did not immediately comment, while TaxiForSure declined to comment.

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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