Even as the Delhi government bans Uber’s services because it was “misleading” customers, it seems most taxi service providers in the city function on similar terms of service as Uber. Special Commissioner of Delhi Transport Department Satish Mathur claims that action is being initiated against Uber, and not other cab services, because they “came to know [of Uber not having a valid licence to operate within city limits] only after this incident…”. But the three other large taxi service providers, Ola Cabs, Meru Cabs, Easy Cabs and TaxiForSure have been functioning from 2011, 2007, 2000 and 2011 respectively.
The crux of Uber’s terms of service is that the company does not provide transportation services but only technological services that let potential seekers of cabs connect with drivers. What that essentially means is that Uber is only an application that lets you book a taxi and that it has nothing to do with the rest of your ride. Of course, you also pay for your ride through Uber. Here is exactly what Uber’s website says:
Now, let’s look at the terms of services of another popular “taxi” service that operate in the National Capital Region – TaxiForSure:
Strikingly similar? The list of similarities doesn’t end with TaxiForSure. Here’s what Meru Cabs’ terms and conditions, available on their website, say:
Ola Cabs, one of the leaders in the radio taxi market of the city, has the same story:
Things aren’t too different for another taxi service provider in Delhi, Easy Cabs:
In effect, what all these cab services are saying is that they cannot be held responsible for the passenger’s safety or any other inconvenience if the taxi is not owned by them – which is the case more often than not. Speaking to Newslaundry, Aparna Kumar, Public Relations (PR) head, CarzonRent, which runs Easy Cabs, said that it has “state-specific licenses through which it operates point-to-point drop service within the city”. Kanika Kalra, PR representative of TaxiForSure, said, “As a taxi-aggregator, we are a market place that provides technology to operators and drivers. Our operators ensure they only get drivers who have all the necessary permits and paperwork to drive inside as well as outside the city, which varies from state to state.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has come down heavily on Uber and rightly so given that Uber sells itself as premium cab service following the highest standards of reliability and safety. However, to claim that it has no idea about other cab services, which have been around for more than a few years and operate on almost the same model, is plain strange.
As for the cab services, it seems the safety and reliability they promise don’t go beyond their ad campaigns.