After witnessing several roadblocks, the government’s long-pending plan to introduce an app-based radio cab service, has firmed up as Kashmir is all set to get this service next month.
The Transport Department of Jammu and Kashmir government has recently issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) to Srinagar-based Ala Cabs and Technologies Pvt Ltd, asking the company to complete the formalities in three months before starting the service.
A representative of Ala Cabs said that it would be starting the app-based radio taxi service in the next one month, enabling passengers to book a cab with help of a mobile application.
“We have got the Letter of Intent from the Transport Department and are the first company to get this nod. We are completing the modalities and preparing the vehicles by making them GPS-enabled. Ala Cabs will be the first company to launch such a service and hopeful to start it in next one month” said Basit Qayoom of Ala Cabs.
Qayoom said the company has already made a mobile appl for the use of drivers. He said work is underway on the mobile app for the use of passengers.
As per the official letter, the Transport Department has asked Ala Cabs to complete various formalities “including maintaining an authorised call centre or web portal or app”.
It may be mentioned that a radio taxi scheme was first introduced in Srinagar in 2012 under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 for allowing operations in the twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu.
In 2016, the Motor Vehicle Department allowed the operations of radio taxi services to Srinagar and Jammu airports and railway stations in Jammu and Nowgam in the summer capital of Srinagar. In 2018, the state transport department invited bids for re-introducing radio taxis in the summer capital but very few operators had shown interest as most major cab aggregators cited logistical and technical problems.
However, the soon-to-start radio taxi service is likely to ensure better transport facilities with the safety of passengers besides creating employment avenues for locals, officials said.
When contacted, Transport Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar confirmed that a Letter of Intent ( LoI) had been issued to Ala Cabs. “They ( Ala Cabs) were the first and the only company to have approached us to seek permission for starting the cab aggregator service. We have issued LoI to them and given them three months to complete all the modalities” said Kumar.