As the summers draw close to welcome monsoon, Karnataka transport department has rained heavily yet again on ride-hailing companies Ola and Uber. On Friday (June 28), the transport department has informed Ola and Uber that their carpooling services are not permissible under the present Karnataka Transport Act.
Therefore, they have asked the companies to pull back the pooling services, effective immediately. The transport department is further planning to take a decision after consulting with the state government.
They have also emphasised that until a mobility sharing policy is put in place, the carpooling services are not permissible.
The ban was further supported by Tanveer Pasha, president of Ola, Uber and TaxiforSure drivers and Owners Association. He reportedly said that since there is no provision in the transport rule for pooling service, they told the transport department to stop pooling service by aggregators.
He said, “There is no business to the driver after pool service been introduced and also there is no safety for the passengers and the drivers in this service, random people share the ride.”
This is not the first time the companies are facing legal hassles, especially in Karnataka. In March, the Regional Transport Department of Bengaluru suspended Ola’s licence and prohibited it from running cab operations in the state of Karnataka for a period of six months. The cab aggregator got into this trouble for allegedly violating the license conditions for running bike taxis and also violating government rules.
However, over the weekend itself, the ban was lifted.
It is to be noted that Ola has nearly 1 Mn drivers in the country, with maximum of those employed in the top three metros. Inc42 sources confirmed that Ola employs nearly 50,000-60,000 drivers in Bengaluru itself.
Prior to this, in February, the state’s transport department had written to Ola and bike taxi startup Rapido to stop its bike taxi services immediately. At that time, Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber (OTU) Owners and Drivers Association had requested the transport department to look into the matter and take action against both the companies.
Also last year in June, the Karnataka government had issued a notice to Ola and Uber against violation of rules for charging the time-based fare. The revised tariff plans for taxis came into effect in January 2018 where the state government had fixed fare by classifying them into different categories.
In 2017, Karnataka’s transport department had given a three day deadline to both the cab hailing giants Ola and Uber directing them to stop their cab sharing services by declaring them as illegal. At the time, Delhi government, under its new City Taxi Policy 2017, was also examining a ban on ride-sharing services like Ola Share and UberPOOL in Delhi. The amendment will come under the purview of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
After tossing and turning of multiple bans for multiple services, how and when Ola and Uber get the ban lifted will be an interesting watch.