Taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola will have to comply with city fuel norms — compressed natural gas (CNG) in case of Delhi — and can also run black-and-yellow cabs, a government panel has recommended.
The three-member committee, constituted by the Union road transport and highways ministry in August to prepare a policy framework for taxi and other transport operators, will give a time frame for taxis that run on the aggregator platform to convert to CNG.
The panel, headed by highways secretary Sanjay Mitra, has also proposed waiving off the current cap on the number of taxis plying in the city.
The cap had resulted in a limited number of such cabs plying in the city. For instance, there are approximately 6,000 black-and-yellow taxis plying in Delhi as against the 45,000 that operate through app-based, ride-hailing services.
“The cap was put way back in the ’90s as it was felt that a higher number of such taxis will add to congestion in the Capital. But, it inadvertently resulted in an increase in the number of personal vehicles on the roads adding to the growing pollution,” said a source.
The panel has also proposed a separate category in which about 20 % of the cabs that run predominantly outside the Capital and ply tourists will run on non-CNG vehicles.
Taxi aggregators have welcomed the recommendations. “It’s a forward-looking move and will provide a level playing field to black-and-yellow taxi service. It will help improve their efficiency.”
The Maharashtra government had, on Monday, come out with a “City Taxi Scheme 2016” that also has the option for black-and-yellow taxis to join app-based cab services.
The Union cabinet had, in August, decided to bring all app-based taxi-hailing services, under the regulatory network allowing state governments to fix a fare cap and check arbitrary charging, the biggest customer grouse. Violators face a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh.
It also made it mandatory for such taxis to get city permits, which makes fare meter a must. These taxis operate on an all-India tourist permit that doesn’t require a metre.