​Uber relaunches in Delhi with radio taxi licence

Uber is resuming operations under a radio taxi licence in Delhi six weeks after it was banned in the city when one of its drivers was pulled up on rape charges.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Controversial ride-share app developer Uber has relaunched in Delhi almost six weeks after being banned because one of its drivers in the city was charged for allegedly raping a passenger.

However, the company's proposed relaunch in the city comes only after it applied for a licence under the Radio Taxi Scheme -- a move that will see it operate under the revised Radio Taxi Act 2006. Delhi is now the only city in which the company operates as a regular taxi service.

Prior to its move to continue operations with a radio taxi licence, the company had been pushing to be regulated under the Technology Act 2000.

To get around taxi regulations in many of the countries in which it operates, Uber has generally maintained that it is not a taxi service provider, but merely an app-based transportation network.

Without explicitly mentioning the rape charges against its Delhi-based driver, Uber's director of communications for India Chhavi Leekha said in a blog post on Thursday that the company applied for the licence to continue operating in the city in order to reflect its commitment to providing "more options for safe and reliable transportation".

"As we resume operations in Delhi, we are only allowing driver partners who have undergone re-verification of their police clearance in the last six weeks to get back on the platform," said Leekha. "For an additional layer of screening, we are implementing independent background checks on all driver partners, plus vehicle documentation reviews.

"Our teams have worked tirelessly to develop new safety features (including an in-app emergency button) nationwide, establish a dedicated incident response team, and re-verify the full credentials of every driver partner on the Uber platform in Delhi," she said.

Elsewhere in India, Uber has come to an agreement with authorities in Kolkata that sees the company operate under the country's Information Technology Act.

"We continue to engage with the relevant Delhi authorities to work towards the Kolkata model, set by the Bidhannagar City Police, who have introduced new regulations for on-demand transportation technology aggregators," said Leekha. "We believe this is the progressive model that ultimately puts the safety of consumers first, while recognising the power of new technologies like Uber that will make city transportation safer."

While Uber has applied for a regular radio taxi licence in Delhi in order to continue operating in the city, it continues to operate outside of local regulations in plenty of cities around the world.

In Australia, up to 24 people involved with the Uber ride-sharing service have reportedly been targeted by the Western Australia Department of Transport for operating unlicensed taxi services in Perth.

Meanwhile, China has banned private cars from taking part in ride-hailing apps, only allowing licensed taxis to use ride-hailing apps such as Uber.

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