The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, which is meant to regulate previously unregulated cab aggregator services. An ‘aggregator’ is a digital intermediary of the marketplace for a rider to connect with a driver for transportation.
As per the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019, an aggregator will be issued the license to operate by the respective state governments according to guidelines issued by the Centre. The central government has also given a green signal to corporate companies to operate buses on any route without a permit. Those who obtain aggregator licenses can operate buses on any route.
Any person can apply for aggregator’s license by submitting the prescribed form and proof of payment of fee and security deposit. The prescribed form (Form-I) asks for details of the company (or co-operative society/association/ Limited Liability Partnership) such as contact details, registered office details, details of vehicles to be operated, GPS/GPRS facility, etc. The fee for aggregator includes Rs 5 Lakh for grant of license. The security deposit ranges from Rs 1 Lakh (for up to 100 buses and 1,000 motor vehicles).
Applicants for the aggregator license must arrange for testing the drivers’ driving ability. Training classes, health-check-up and insurance are mandatory for the bus staff. Passengers will be asked to rate the service of the drivers at the end of their trips.
Meanwhile, in Kerala, both KSTRC and private bus operators are offering fare discounts to passengers. In fact, KSRTC on lean days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, offers a 25 per cent discount on fare for its superclass services. This special offer, which began in November, has been extended to passengers in AC Volvo inter-district services from December. In the meantime, private bus owners offer fare discounts on an ad hoc basis.