New Delhi Extends Ban On Uber To Cover Other Taxi Apps

Authorities in Indian city of New Delhi have expanded a ban on Uber to cover all other taxi hailing apps in the city until they acquire relevant licenses, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Uber was banned in the city yesterday for “misleading consumers”, having initially caught the attention of officials after a driver was arrested on suspicion of raping a female passenger last week.

“All other transport/taxi service providers through web based technology, who are not recognized, are prohibited from providing such services in the NCT of Delhi to public till they get license/permission from the Transport Department,” read a statement from Delhi’s transport department.

Neither Uber nor Ola replied to requests for comment at the timing of writing.

The Journal reports that authorities recognized Easy Cab, Mega Cab, Meru Cab, Chanson Cab, Yo Cab and Air Cab as legally able to service the city.

It remains to be seen whether other cities in India will follow New Delhi’s lead and seek licenses from these companies.

Going head on with authorities is something Uber is renowned for, even if the company has recently pledged to change. Mere days after CEO Travis Kalanick promised last week to make Uber “a smarter and more humble company”, the company launched in Portland, U.S., without the necessary licenses. It is now being sued by the city.

Uber may well opt to ignore Portland’s request to close its operations there, as it has done with other U.S. cities in the past, but the situation in India may necessitate a more conciliatory approach.

Uber, for example, reluctantly introduced wallet-based payments in India in accordance with laws, and there’s plenty at stake in the country.

Portland may just be another city in the U.S., but India has become a key focus for the company, which earmarked its latest $1.2 billion funding round for growth in Asia. Given the business potential of the nascent taxi app market, India’s billion-plus population and its status as a foreign business — not to mention the knee-jerk reaction of authorities — Uber may opt to tread more softly than usual.