India tries to set rules for ride-hailing apps like Uber

The federal government has issued the guidelines to the states

India has finally got around to setting a regulatory framework for companies like Uber offering apps to hail taxis, recognizing them as intermediaries rather than as taxi operators.

But the rules will still place a lot of controls on the app services to ensure that the taxis and drivers meet a host of service and safety standards. Regulations requiring that drivers of app-based services have approved bank accounts would also ensure that they come under the country's tax net, which they have largely eluded.

The rules, posted to the website of the federal Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, come in the wake of a boom in ride-hailing services in the country, driven largely by large local companies like ANI Technologies, which operates the Ola service, and the entrance of multinational companies like Uber.

The app companies have attracted their share of controversy, particularly after a passenger in Delhi alleged in December that she was raped by an Uber driver. Well-funded Ola is also being investigated by the Competition Commission of India for its alleged 'predatory pricing' to ease out a smaller competitor.

The new rules are more or less in line with regulations set by the Delhi Transport Corporation when it asked ride-hailing companies to sign up under its revised Radio Taxi Scheme.

The ride-hailing companies, called on-demand transportation technology aggregators, will continue to require licenses and their drivers will require commercial driver licenses and also police verification.

Besides running a round-the-clock call center, the aggregator has to ensure that all vehicles used have devices capable of tracking their location, for which the government will specify the standards at a later date, and also have emergency safety buttons. The apps will also have to provide riders features to share their location with at least two people close to them and the ability to contact the police in an emergency.

The rules also set working conditions for drivers, including requiring them to be allowed to work for multiple ride-hailing platforms. The ride-hailing companies cannot, for example, employ drivers or set minimum working hours for them.

Ola welcomed the advisory from the ministry and described it as a major step towards positively impacting the ecosystem that technology platforms like it have created. Uber said the guidelines were a significant step in the right direction as they "rightfully" distinguish between taxi operators and technology platforms. "We hope this new regulatory framework paves the way for similar progress in markets around the world," it added.

Ola on Tuesday launched its ride-sharing service, on the lines of UberPool, with the difference that it promises not to force users to ride with strangers but people of their "own social groups."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?