After the recent Uber cab rape incident and subsequent statement from Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ban all web based cab services, various cab operators are afraid to operate in Delhi. The taxi count on roads has declined, causing problems to commuters in the city. Cab operators like Ola and Taxi for Sure who function on the same model like Uber, are difficult to find on roads, and on their mobile app.
Bal Krishan Jha, a taxi driver with Taxi for Sure says, “The people are talking at a superficial level. We are still to come to terms with technology. How can anyone blame technology and a service if there is one person who commits a crime?” Jha, who hails from Bihar, also holds a Bachelors degree in Music from the prestigious Banaras Hindu University. “As a cab driver, my integrity is also questioned when politicians say cabs must be banned. Has anybody suggested that we should ban a bus or a train after rape incidents there? Cabs these days are extremely affordable, and needs to be promoted. Yes, there needs to be check and balances and any operator who is not adhering to the guidelines must be dealt in a lawful manner.” adds Jha.
Shweta, a school teacher (name changed on request) says, “I cannot plan a late evening film with my friends as I am not sure if I will get a cab for back home or not. Also, the recent Uber cab incident has made me skeptical if I should take a cab or not. But then I am not left with any other choice.”
The electronic media is busy investigating the integrity of cab services in Delhi. The picture which has been portrayed by the media is not helping the situation and forcing people to cancel weekend plans in absence of personal vehicle. Braham Roop (name changed on request), another cab driver, says, “I hear that after the incident 1000 PCR vans will be added on Delhi roads. This will only make sure that we have to pay more bribes. The police even takes a bribe of Rs 50. The problem is with the system and the government is not courageous enough to talk about the problem in the system.” When asked about the verification of the cab drivers, Braham adds, “The verification is one big hoax. If I have to get my verification done, I will go to any police station and provide my Identity Card and few documents along with Rs 200. The police never go through the documents and put the stamp. A proper verification must mean that the police visit my home, ask the neighbors about me and other things like that. But neither have they time for it, nor are we interested as any delay means loss of income. So the verification which everybody is demanding will be a fake verification at most.”
As various loopholes in the system are shown after the Uber cab rape incident, nobody is ready to take the responsibility- be it the administration, police or the cab operators. As a result it is the people of Delhi who face problem in absence of proper cab services in the winter season.
This article was first published on LokMarg on December 12, 2014