TAMIL NADU

Licence to drive taxi: transport dept. to spread new message

The Transport Department will create awareness on the Union Transport Ministry’s advisory that did away with the obligation for taxi drivers to hold a commercial licence to drive cabs, autorickshaws, e-rickshaws and two-wheelers.

Earlier, the rule required all taxi drivers to have a commercial licence.

An advisory was issued by the Centre following a July 2017 Supreme Court order by a three-judge bench. The order said no other separate endorsement was required apart from a private licence to drive a light motor vehicle. Private licence holders were eligible to work as drivers with taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola.

The State Transport Ministry had communicated the development to the offices of Regional Transport Officers. The Transport department was informed that the traffic police continued to impose fines on private licence holders driving light commercial vehicles.

“Information about the Union Transport Ministry’s advisory will shortly be disseminated to the implementing authorities,” Regional Transport Officer of Tiruchi West A. Umapathy said.

There was no difference in the capabilities of the drivers with private or commercial driving licences. But those with the latter certification were required to renew their licences every three years, whereas a private licence was valid for 20 years.

Also, for obtaining a commercial driving licence, the applicant was required to get a certification from police. But the procedure for obtaining a commercial driving licence was made easier after an online process was introduced, Mr. Umapathy pointed out.

Taxi industry sources said the Centre was also open to the idea of promoting ride-sharing in private cars to enable carpooling of private taxis through services such as Ola and Uber.

It was also exploring the scope for use of private cars such as taxis, taking inspiration from Singapore, U.S., Australia and a few other countries.

But in all likelihood, there would be a cap on the number of rides and the amount earned through the system in order to protect the livelihood of existing cab drivers.

The purpose was to cut down pollution in cities after a survey indicating that private cars transporting just one or two passengers accounted for 70% of vehicles on the road in metro areas, the sources said.

There is no difference in the capabilities of drivers with private or commercial licencesA. UmapathyRegional Transport Officer Tiruchi West

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