In­dia con­sid­ers pri­vate cars for rideshar­ing to cut traf­fic

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­dia is ex­am­in­ing the use of pri­vate ve­hi­cles as shared taxis in an ef­fort to re­duce car own­er­ship and curb grow­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion in ma­jor cities, sources fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter told Reuters. In­dia’s fed­eral think-tank, which is chaired by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, has part­nered with com­pa­nies in­clud­ing ride-shar­ing firm Uber Tech­nolo­gies to as­sess the eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of us­ing pri­vate cars as taxis, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial in­volved in the process said.

In­creas­ing the avail­abil­ity of cars that can be used as cabs would be wel­come news for Uber and its Soft­Bank backed lo­cal ri­val Ola, al­though it could heighten ten­sions with taxi op­er­a­tors that typ­i­cally pay higher fees for com­mer­cial li­cences while fac­ing more rig­or­ous ve­hi­cle test­ing. In­dia’s gov­ern­ment wants to re­duce pri­vate car own­er­ship, the of­fi­cial said, adding the three-month study will look at the safety, reg­u­la­tory, tax and in­sur­ance im­pli­ca­tions. While the study is in its early days, the broad idea is to set up a clear and rea­son­able reg­u­la­tory frame­work for ride-shar­ing so it al­lows com­pa­nies to op­er­ate in In­dia with­out am­bi­gu­ity, an­other source in­volved in the process said. Al­though Uber is al­lowed to use pri­vate cars for ride shar­ing in coun­tries such as Aus­tralia and Sin­ga­pore, their use has faced op­po­si­tion from taxi op­er­a­tors in parts of North Amer­ica. An Uber spokesman said shar­ing pri­vate ve­hi­cles can help cut con­ges­tion and en­sure more ef­fi­cient use of cars. “We are en­gag­ing with a range of stake­hold­ers in In­dia about the best way to re­alise this vi­sion,” he said.

Car sales im­pact

But such a move could dent car sales in In­dia where the own­er­ship ra­tio is al­ready low com­pared with other coun­tries. There are fewer than 20 cars for ev­ery 1,000 peo­ple in In­dia. Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Mo­tor and Tata Mo­tors are among the top-sell­ing car­mak­ers in the coun­try, which is fore­cast to be the world’s third­largest car mar­ket by 2020. —Reuters

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