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~By Mrinal Verma

Data uploaded onto its website by the Transport Department of the Government of NCT shows an alarming rise in the number of taxi cabs in the area. It also brings to light the parking problems faced in the area. The rise has been huge. The number of Maxi Cabs, for example, have risen from 11,356 in 2014-15 to 27,715 in 2017. That’s an increase of over 100 percent.

If one also considers the explosive addition of Uber and Ola cabs, the question is, where do these cabs park? The Transport Department has come up with a solution. It has given an in-principle approval for formulating a policy in which the registration of a commercial vehicle (cabs) will not be officially done until the owner also provides proof of an available parking space.

The rule, when applied, will call for all the cab drivers in the capital to give proof of the parking space that their vehicle would be using, and only when the space is approved will their car be registered. It has been a reality that the national capital has been facing a parking problem for a long time now. With the addition of cabs that have increased in numbers aggressively, the problem has grown and has become a headache that the city has to deal with every day.

The drivers and owners of cabs, however, are understandably unhappy.

Cab drivers Rakesh Kumar and Sonu Singh, operating from around INA, are angry over how the government has been targeting the cab drivers in the recent past. Their refrain: “The government is making new rules to limit us, but is doing nothing to help us. We work all day, and come home at midnight, or sometimes even later, when we just want to have dinner and go to sleep. But now we have to worry about where to park our car, too? Why can’t I just park it in my own space?

The government wants to implement so many rules but do we really have the ability to carry them out?”

(L-R) Cab drivers Rakesh Kumar(Left) and Harry Prasad(Right) are amongst those drivers who are worried about the new rule. Photo: Mrinal Verma
(L-R) Cab drivers Rakesh Kumar(Left) and Harry Prasad(Right) are amongst those drivers who are worried about the new rule. Photo: Mrinal Verma

The new rule will ask for the owner to submit a copy of the agreement with an authorized parking contractor of MCD/NDMC/DDA among others for a minimum period of one year. The matter is yet to be discussed with these local bodies to see what step they take. It also stated that the offender will have their permit cancelled or even suspended.

Harry Prasad, who works as a driver for a private cab company, says: “I will agree to government’s rules when they give us enough ways to follow them. They want us to park in MCD spaces, but how many such spaces are truly available? I know of no such place near my house so does this mean I have to park my car somewhere and then take a bus to get home? How is that helpful to anyone?”

India Legal tried to reach Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, for his comments and sent a mail, detailing the drivers’ grouse. However, his office had not replied till the time of going to press.

It has been a reality that the national capital has been facing a parking problem for a long time now. With the addition of cabs that have increased in numbers aggressively, the problem has grown and has become a headache that the city has to deal with every day.

The proposed move was introduced just days after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal reviewed the new draft of the parking policy. He issued a number of directions that are to be taken to tackle these problems. He also directed the authorities to identify roads and commercial streets in the city as a ‘no tolerance zone’, which might help deal with the situation.

With the popularity of Ola and Uber being as much it is, it is no surprise that the study conducted by RedSeer Management Consulting Pvt. Ltd. noted that Ola and Uber collectively completed around 500 million rides in 2016, a major rise from their 130 million rides in 2015.

The other problem is that the city has more commercial vehicles operating with it than are legally registered here. They are also parked in the city. With no check over the parking of cabs, these cab drivers have been parking their commercial vehicle in residential areas or on roads, taking up space.

Within the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, it is already stated that the government has a jurisdiction over the parking spaces and halting stations regarding commercial vehicles, so a question can also be raised on whether it truly is a new law or just an old one in a new bottle.

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