Kamrup bid to rein in drivers of app-based cabs and bikes
Assam’s Kamrup (Metro) district administration has come up with a slew of dos and don’ts to ensure a smooth and safe ride for commuters rattled by rising complaints against drivers of app-based cabs and bikes.
A meeting convened by the district administration with representatives of taxi aggregators such as Ola, Uber, Pe-India, Rapido and the All Assam Cab Operators Union here on Wednesday decided on a set of guidelines to streamline the existing cab service in the capital city.
The trigger for convening the meeting has been two recent incidents in which drivers assaulted the passengers over payment mode, additional deputy commissioner (Kamrup Metro) Bipul Das told The Telegraph on Thursday.
In the first incident on May 10, a Rapido bike driver assaulted a woman passenger for “not” switching to the offline mode and sought more than the stipulated fare. On May 28, an Uber driver assaulted a male passenger after he refused to pay in cash for the trip.
In both cases, the city police acted swiftly to arrest both the accused drivers but the two incidents not only sparked off a furore on social media platforms about passenger safety but also raised questions about the role of the administration in ensuring safety of commuters.
Das said the guidelines, which will be notified soon, was decided in consultation with the all stakeholders to ensure that commuters do not face any kind of harassment.
“Rising complaints against drivers of the app-based service was the trigger and we hope everyone will follow the guidelines,” Das said.
According to the guidelines, drivers cannot cancel a trip on their own, they have be in uniform, they cannot charge extra fare, passengers to have the choice of paying fare through online or offline mode and A/C must in working condition in all cabs. The passengers too will have to display the destination and fare before the trip starts to avoid last-minute hassle.
The guidelines will also see each app-based aggregators to have a local office in the city with a nodal officer to act on complaints. They also need to have a helpline for passengers.
“Issues and complaints between the app-based service companies and drivers should be sorted out internally. One complaint of the drivers/owners is about the commission, in the range of 30 to 40 per cent, deducted by the companies. Our whole objective is to ensure passengers enjoy a hassle-free and smooth ride,” Das said.
Sources said the transport department will “now” have to revisit the agreement with the app-based services.
“It is important to have an agreement where rules and regulations are clearly mentioned so that there is a level playing field and violation can be dealt with accordingly,” a source said.
The emergence of the app-based service had provided a lot of relief to commuters from haggling over fare with auto-rickshaw drivers to a smooth ride. It had also provided an avenue for employment generation.
“But the behaviour of a few drivers has dampened the initial enthusiasm and has led to growing rancour on the streets. Therefore, it is important that the errant drivers are reined in a city like Guwahati which is the gateway to the northeast,” a commuter said.
The flood situation in Assam improved on Friday with all major rivers of the state flowing below the danger mark even as nearly 70,000 people remain affected by the deluge across five districts and some new areas were inundated due to heavy rain, an official bulletin said.