Per a recent report, the Delhi government has filed a case against online travel aggregator redBus, alleging redBus of ‘issuing tickets’ for buses that are plying on illegal routes. Another app-based bus aggregator Shuttl has also been penalised by the transport department for allegedly plying on illegal routes in the capital.
The report states that the enforcement wing of the transport department has penalised 52 Shuttl buses in the last few weeks. The buses plied by Shuttl have contract carriage permits which does not give them permission to pick up passengers or issue tickets under provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Only stage carriage buses are allowed to do so.
Launched back in April 2015 by Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya, Shuttl aims to offer economic and comfortable shuttle services to commuters in Delhi-NCR. They claim that the action taken by authorities is absolutely arbitrary and without any basis.
KK Dahiya, Special Commissioner, Transport Department said about the case filed against redBus:
“The department is also conducting an inquiry into the portal’s operation.”
He further added that in the last two months, the department has impounded 1,190 buses, mostly from Majnu Ka Tilla, Sarai Kale Khan, Kashmere Gate, Lal Qila, Anand Vihar, and Dhaula Kuan. He has assured that all the illegal buses plying in the city will be out within 15 days.
RedBus was founded in 2006. In June 2013, ibibo Group, a joint venture between South Africa’s Naspers and Chinese Internet company Tencent, acquired a controlling stake in online bus ticketing firm redBus, valuing it at about $140 Mn (INR 800 Cr). As per an official website, the company has 2,000 bus operators covering over 100,000 routes across countries.
redBus is maintaining that they are an intermediary and thus serves as a marketplace that connects two ends of the ropes i.e. bus operators and consumers. The bus operators directly bill in the customers and redBus only acts as a technology provider for both ends.
The spokesperson has also said:
“While bus operators listed on redBus provide an undertaking that they have the requisite permits and licences to operate the buses, it is not in redBus’s jurisdiction to physically verify or enforce this. Even under the Information Technology Act, 2000, the nature of business of redBus can be categorised as intermediary, and so we are afforded an immunity under the above Act from data that is posted on our website by third parties. It is reiterated that various inventory listed on the website is not owned by redBus.”