App-based taxi service very soon in Valley

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SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: Kashmir valley is all set to welcome App-based radio taxi service. According to sources, the service will be launched in the first month of January 2022, as Road Transport Department is presently finalising all necessary documentation with the service providers. After witnessing several roadblocks, the Government’s long-pending plan to introduce an app-based radio cab service is final now, as Kashmir is all set to get the service from next month.
Transport Department of Jammu & Kashmir government has recently issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) to Srinagar-based Ala Cabs and Technologies Pvt Ltd, asking the company to complete all formalities in three months before starting the service. A representative of Ala Cabs said that the company would start the app-based radio taxi service in next month, enabling passengers to book a cab with help of a mobile application. “We have got the Letter of Intent from the Transport Department. We are presently completing modalities and preparing vehicles by making them GPS-enabled. Ala Cabs will be the first company to launch such a service,” said representative of service provider. He said the company has already made a mobile application for drivers while work is underway on mobile app for passengers.
As per the official letter, the Transport Department has asked Ala Cabs to complete various formalities including maintaining an authorised call centre or webportal or app. It has also been asked to maintain a round-the-clock control room with adequate manpower.
It may be mentioned that a radio taxi scheme was first introduced in Srinagar in 2012 under Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 for allowing operations in twin capitals of Srinagar and Jammu. In 2016, the Motor Vehicle Department allowed operations of radio taxi services to Srinagar and Jammu airports and railway stations in Jammu and Nowgam in Srinagar. In 2018, the state transport department invited bids for re-introducing radio taxis in summer capital but very few operators expressed interest citing logistical and technical problems. However, the soon-to-start radio taxi service is likely to ensure better transport facilities with safety of passengers besides creating employment avenues for locals, officials said.
Transport Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar has confirmed that a Letter of Intent (LoI) had been issued to Ala Cabs. “They are the first and the only company to have approached us to seek permission for starting cab aggregator service. We have issued LoI to them and asked to complete all modalities,” Kumar informed.