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Maharashtra to bring policy to regulate app-based cab services

Mumbai: Maharashtra government will soon announce a policy to regulate app-based cab services like Ola and Uber, and restrict their operations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region besides providing them with fare meters.

"The new policy, that is awaiting final approval of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, entails regulating the fares of these online cab service providers," state Minister for Public Transport Diwakar Raote said.

Replying to queries from the media on yesterday's strike by Mumbai's traditional yellow and black taxis (who were protesting the rates charged by cab aggregators), he said that app-based taxi services will be provided with fare meters.

Raote said app-based taxi operators like Ola and Uber will be allowed to operate only within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

In view of rising popularity of ride-sharing firms, Raote said the regular yellow and black taxis should improve the quality of their services and may launch their own mobile applications.

Commenting on college-going students driving two wheelers, Raote said the government plans to allow teenagers in the age group of 16 to 18 years to drive gear-less two
wheelers.

"Parents of these teenagers are at fault for allowing their children to drive two wheelers," he said.

Raote said if teenagers were found guilty of rash driving, action will be taken against their parents. The state government intends to bring a law to deal with
traffic violations and it will cover provisions that have been left out of the purview of the central Act, he stated.

"The amendment Bill will be introduced during the Monsoon Session of the state legislature beginning next month," he said.

Henceforth, while approving tenders for new state highways, the government will incorporate provisions for installation of integrated traffic management systems like CCTVs to detect rash driving, drunken driving, speeding, lane cutting and other traffic violations, the minister said.

"After the June 6 tragic accident on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway that killed 17 people, the RTO monitored vehicular movement on the motorway and also on busy roads in Pune and Mumbai between June 9 and June 17.

"During the surprise checking in Pune and Thane, 2,168 vehicles were found violating traffic rules and a fine of Rs 3.78 lakh was recovered," he said.

Raote disclosed that RTO flying squad vehicles fitted with CCTVs were deployed on the expressway and during checking between June 16 and June 21, action was taken against 1,165 vehicles for lane cutting and violating speed limits.

Referring to the monitoring done by RTO to detect traffic violations in Mumbai between January 1, 2015 and June 21, 2016, Raote said the transport agency suspended driving licences of 1,533 vehicle owners, while 1,055 motorists underwent counselling for traffic violations like not wearing seat belts and talking on mobile phones while driving.

During this period, action was taken against 39,885 vehicle owners and fines worth Rs 5.40 lakh recovered from them, the Minister said.

During the surprise checking done by RTO in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Panvel, violations like rash driving, drunken driving, overloading, speeding and not wearing seat
belts, among others, were detected. Action was taken against 2,764 vehicles and fines worth Rs 30.36 lakh was recovered. Also, 34 vehicles were seized.

"The RTO has started issuing notices to vehicle owners found violating traffic rules based on the footage obtained from CCTVs.

"The RTO officials are delivering these notices personally at residences of the owners. If the owners are not found at their place of residence, the notices are pasted on the doors," he added.

"So far, 750 such notices have been served while another 450 will be issued soon. If the owners fail to reply to the notices they will have to pay fine," Raote said.

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