Delhi's New Rules For Radio Taxis: GPS, Display of Helpline Numbers a Must

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New Delhi:  Ahead of the New Year, the Delhi government has announced some new rules for taxis plying in the city - which include mandatory installation of tracking devices based on GPS and prominent display of police and transport department helpline numbers.

The new rules also say licensees should either maintain a call center or operate through an authorised call center or a web portal and they will have to provide all details, including full database of their drivers, to the transport department.
The changes in rules came following the rape of a young woman executive earlier this month, allegedly by the driver of a cab registered with ride-sharing cellphone app Uber.

As the rape evoked a nationwide outrage, Home Minister Rajnath Singh advised all states to stop the operation of internet-based taxi services. The Delhi government banned all app-based cab services - including Uber - and other cities and states followed suit, including Hyderabad and Maharashtra.

The ban not only left thousands of drivers unemployed, it also cut off women from a service that was seen as safe.

"Uber is not a radio taxi company, therefore the Transport Department's amendments to the radio taxi scheme do not help us serve our riders and partner drivers in Delhi," an Uber spokesperson told NDTV. "It also does not accurately reflect the primary role that the Information Act 2000 plays in regulating intermediaries like Uber."

The driver with Uber, 32-year-old Shiv Kumar Yadav, had allegedly raped the woman on the night of December 5 barely 4 km from her home.

The car was not fitted with a GPS device. The only tracking device was the cellphone given to Yadav by Uber, which he had switched off. It was the only safety feature in the cab and Uber, which was popular among women passengers for its promise of safety, drew fire from all quarters.

During the investigation into the case, Uber executives also admitted the company did not conduct any background checks for its drivers. Yadav turned out to be serial offender who had several cases of sexual assault and one under Arms Act against him.

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