RTO Introduces Squads for Strict Action Against Aggregators

The Pune Regional Transport Authority office has announced a comprehensive crackdown on ride-hailing giants Ola and Uber, prohibiting their operations in Pune City, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Baramati. This decision, made by the district collector, stems from both companies' failure to comply with the guidelines outlined in the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines Act of 2020.

Both Ola and Uber have been granted a 30-day window to appeal this decision to the appellate authority. The Regional Transport Authority, chaired by the District Collector and including the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) and the Regional Transport Office (RTO), forms the committee responsible for overseeing this matter.

Sanjeev Bhor, the Regional Transport Officer, emphasized the formation of four flying squads to rigorously enforce the ban. He also stressed the importance of considering citizen welfare, particularly school children and commuters, while carrying out enforcement actions.

Despite the denial of licenses to Ola and Uber on Tuesday, reports indicate that some continued to utilize their services in various areas on Wednesday, albeit primarily for local and intercity travel between Pune and Mumbai.

Reacting to the ban, Anita Nair, an IT professional, expressed concerns over potential inconvenience to commuters and urged the government to convene discussions with all stakeholders to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.

The public relations firm representing Uber stated that they would provide a response soon.

RTO officials disclosed that Ola and Uber's applications for aggregator licenses had been pending since December 2023. A review revealed non-compliance with the Act's provisions, leading to a rejection of their applications and subsequent prohibition from operating further.

Bhor highlighted specific violations by the aggregators, including inadequate driver training, insufficient driving experience, and failure to provide insurance policies and health insurance to drivers.

The looming crackdown by the RTO is anticipated to affect numerous residents, particularly students, IT professionals, women, senior citizens, and airport and railway commuters who heavily rely on aggregator services.

Dr. Keshav Nana Kshirsagar, president of the Indian Gig Workers Front, emphasized the importance of strict adherence to guidelines, while Baba Kamble, president of the National Auto Taxi Bus Transport Federation, called for a complete ban on the companies for their non-compliance with the law.

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