Maharashtra & The City Taxi Rules 2017 & the Court Case

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The News 

Mumbai, the financial capital of India, megacities of the world with a population of 21.0 million (UN 2014), contributes around 22% of the state income of Maharashtra. Public transport and traffic catch a lot of media attention at times and of recently the court case relating to the Ola and Uber taxi system aggregators under new notification is before the Mumbai High Court was making the news. Taxis arrived in 1911 to complement horse wagons. Black and yellow Fiat taxis are an integral part of the city’s heritage and have been depicted in numerous Bollywood movies. About 58,000  taxis in Greater Mumbai and 98,566 in Mumbai MMR. Classic black and yellow taxi numbers on Greater Mumbai roads had fallen to 20 000 by 2010 as 35,000 new taxis joined the ranks.

  • Silver-Green taxis run by Meru 
  • Yellow-Red by Gold cabs
  • Black by Mega cabs.
  • Blue and silver air-conditioned metered taxis known as Cool Cabs
  • Some private taxi operators provide yellow number plate cars for transportation.
  • Temperature control device should be installed in proper working order.
  • Fuel-CNG, LPG, Hybrid or Electrical.
  • Not applicable to black and yellow taxis.
  • GPS or GPRS System mandatory to be installed including to track the distance.

Drivers working with app-based cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber approached the Bombay high court challenging the Maharashtra government’s City Taxi Rules, 2017. They claim that the Rule imposes terms that make it unnecessarily difficult for them to get licenses. The Lex Resonance section examines what does the notification says.

  • The petitioners’ main complaint is that the new rules do not allow app-based cabs to ply on national tourist permits. Instead, it makes it mandatory for them to apply for new local permits if they wish to continue operations within city limits. The existing permits restrict such cabs within the city of their registration.
  • Also, to obtain the local permits, the petitioners claimed, they would have to shell out Rs25,000 for vehicles with engine capacity below 1400 cc and Rs2.6 lakh for those with 1400 cc capacity. This is “more than 10 times of what the drivers of black and yellow taxis have to pay” for their permits.

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The Insight

1. Permits to Taxi System issued under Section 74 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988: 

The operational schemes include Fleet Taxi Scheme, 2006 and Phone Fleet Taxi Scheme, 2010.

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2. Permit Conditions for All India Tourist Permits

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3. App based Aggregators:

Aggregators means a person who is an operator or an intermediary or a marketplace who facilitates passenger to travel by taxi or any other public service vehicle through the phone calls, the internet, web based services or GPS or GPRS irrespective of the brokerage involved. The license is issued to the aggregator under these Rules. The Licence is granted to the applicant aggregator who is registered under the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 or Indian Companies Act, 2017. The e-mail id, details of office- in-charge and phone details of the aggregator is mandatory. The Licensee can either operate the call center, web portal or app which has to be notified to the concerned authority. The licensee shall have an adequate mechanism for receiving customers feedback and grievances. Other mandatory requirements are:

  • Valid fitness certificate
  • Fleet of various types of taxis- owned or by way of agreement
  • Engine capacity of more than 980 with seating capacity of 7 including driver
  • 30% fleet of more than 1400 cc
  • App based city taxi permit is issued to aggregator
  • Taxi to be equipped with mobile radio  with a  two-way communication system
  • Twenty years is the life of the vehicle or as specified by State Transport Authority
  • First Aid Box

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4.  Color Scheme of the Taxi System under App Based

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5. Mandatory display of details of driver visible to the rider, helpline numbers and no use of tinted glass and a feedback register.

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1. Notification issued by Home Department, Mumbai, dated 04 March 2017

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