New Delhi, Dec 8: The rape of a 27-year-old woman executive allegedly by a cab driver has shaken those who prefer cab-booking services like Uber, which charge premium rates on the promise of better services.
Uber, which follows the 'aggregator model', is largely popular among private sector executives whose work hours often stretch late into the night.
The aggregator model, also called the asset-light model, allow companies like Uber, Ola Cabs and Taxi-for-Sure to run cab-booking services without actually having any driver on their rolls unlike private taxi operators such as Meru, which owns a fleet of 10,000 cabs across 12 cities.
"They don't have drivers on their rolls or taxis of their own. They operate through a network of drivers with valid licences or operators who own cars," an expert in the transport sector said. On its website, Uber has a disclaimer stating that it "is not a transportation provider".
Following countrywide protests after the rape, Uber also put out a statement on its official blog saying that they partner with "registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance".
This essentially lets the companies put the onus on the government licensing system following untoward incidents as the service providers do not have any control over the drivers. "Without the installation of GPS or thorough background check of the cab drivers, a company puts the safety of the passengers on jeopardy," said Ramesh Iyer, CEO of a leading private security company.
Delhi government today banned all operations by private cab-booking service Uber with immediate effect and blacklisted it from providing any transport service. The San Francisco-based company was also briefly banned in Germany for not following proper regulations governing cabs.