After dominating headlines for all the wrong reasons following the rape of a woman by one of their drivers, Uber Technologies on Friday said that it had restarted operations in New Delhi after the cab service was barred from the city in December.
In a landmark change to its business model, Uber said that it had applied to become a licenced radio taxi operator in the national capital, reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to regulations, radio cab firms must have a fleet of 200 vehicles, apart from a 24-hour call centre and panic buttons in their taxis. Until now, Uber had denied being a taxi company and claimed to be a technology service connecting drivers with potential customers.
In a statement released by it, the company said that the decision was a reflection of its "commitment to providing riders with more options for safe and reliable transportation, including the ability to request a radio taxi on demand."
Uber's full statement:
Over the past few weeks, we have had many conversations with our rider and driver communities, and we are aware that they eagerly want Uber back on Delhi roads. Our driver-partners' livelihoods had been severely impacted, and our riders were left without the platform they had come to rely upon for their daily needs.
Yesterday, Uber applied for a license under the Radio Taxi Scheme to reflect our commitment to providing riders with more options for safe and reliable transportation, including the ability to request a Radio Taxi on-demand.
Meanwhile, we continue to engage with the relevant Delhi authorities to work towards the Kolkata model, set by the Bidhannagar City Police, who have introduced new regulations for on-demand transportation technology aggregators. We believe this is the progressive model that ultimately puts the safety of consumers first, while recognizing the power of new technologies like Uber that will make city transportation safer.
As we resume operations in Delhi, we are only allowing driver-partners who have undergone re-verification of their Police clearance in the last six weeks to get back on the platform. For an additional layer of screening, we are implementing independent background checks on all driver partners, plus vehicle documentation reviews. Our teams have worked tirelessly to develop new safety features (including an in-app emergency button) nationwide, establish a dedicated incident response team and re-verify the full credentials of every driver-partner on the Uber platform in Delhi.
Connecting riders with a safe, reliable transportation option, while providing drivers with better opportunities is our unwavering mission, and we are setting an even higher standard than current industry requirements. Our commitment to make transportation safe in Indian cities has never been more absolute and we won't rest till the job is done.