The three day deadline issued by Karnataka’s Transport Department against online cab aggregators Ola and Uber to halt their cab sharing services in the state ends today. According to an official statement, UberPOOL and Ola Share services will be termed illegal in the state starting today, i.e. February 3, 2017.
Earlier last week, Karnataka’s Transport Commissioner M K Aiyappa declared the cab-sharing services of online cab aggregators as ‘illegal.’
Commenting on the development, MK Aiyappa, Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety told ET, “The cab aggregators collect fare for ride-sharing services, which is against the permit conditions. We are, however, not against carpooling by private car-owners as far as it does not involve exchange of money. If any driver is found continuing ride-sharing services from Friday, we will take action.”
Uber and Ola had introduced ride-sharing services by the names of ‘Uber Pool’ and ‘Ola Share’, respectively, in order to facilitate rides at lower rates and improve traffic conditions as well.
As per an ET report, the minister had urged cab aggregators to submit a memorandum – seeking modification of the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules, for them to continue cab sharing services under the contract carriage permit.
On the other hand, Uber has started an online petition in the state, urging users and citizens of the state to support UberPOOL. As per an official statement, the aggregator’s cab-sharing services has prevented more than 9,364,772 kilometres of driving, saved 4,40,623 litres of fuel by being allowed to match riders using similar routes, and cut over 1,037,000 kg of CO2 emissions by sharing a ride.
An Uber spokesperson told Inc42, “UberPOOL is a product that enables driver partners to pick up and drop identified riders through the Uber App under a single contract. When a rider chooses UberPOOL through the Uber app, he/she consents to another person sharing the trip. There is a clear understanding between all the riders on the trip and the driver partner that the trip and the vehicle will be shared. The app also identifies all the riders and the driver partner. The law permits a contract carriage permit holder to stop to pick up or set down passengers who are included in the contractual understanding with the driver. UberPool fulfills this requirement and we believe that it does not violate the contract carriage permit.”
In January 2017, cab drivers in Bengaluru started an indefinite strike as a result of the companies’ move to acquire more cars, that has led to shrinking incentives for the current drivers. To its reaction, the government backed out of the tiff, saying that it cannot intervene in the matter.