Car pooling services like UberPOOL and OlaShare will not be banned in Karnataka. Instead, they will run under new rules proposed by the state transport authority, and they’re nothing to write home about.
According to the new framework, the taxi services can continue to provide a pooling facility, as long as the customers are all picked up from the same point, and dropped off at the same destination.
Tanveer Pasha, the President of the the Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber Drivers’ Association, said that the Transport Commissioner has granted the cab aggregators permission to run the service, as long as they change their method of car-pooling.
“The Commissioner suggested that the OlaShare and UberPool services could go on if the pick-up and drop points of the commuters are the same as the rules suggest that cab services cannot pick up and drop passengers at different locations. This is because they do not have stage carriage permits. This permit is issued only to BMTC buses,” Pasha added.
The transport authority has also said that if the cab aggregators fail to comply with the rules, the car-pooling service would be suspended.
The Transport Commissioner MK Aiyappa, representatives and the legal team of Ola and Uber, and various taxi drivers’ associations in the city, were part of a meeting which brought out various solution to the drivers’ grievances.
For commuters in Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, the move has become a major cause for concern.
“It’s not every day that I can find people who will want to travel to the same location that I do. This is a ridiculous decision. The transport department should be promoting car-pooling, instead they are trying to sabotage it,” said Shrutika Srivastava, a 24-year-old IT professional and Bellandur resident, who uses the service daily.
Seventy-two-year-old Rameshwara Gowda’s son books him an UberPool everyday from his Indiranagar residence to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens.
“I am not comfortable taking money from my children and I have to now cut down my visits to may be twice a week if I have to be able to afford it. I cannot take the bus as I have arthritis and I cannot walk much. It is painful to climb stairs,” Rameshwara said.
“Besides, the Centre had recently brought out guidelines, which encouraged car-pooling. Why does the government have to interfere and destroy conveniences for the people? I will write to the Transport Commissioner. Customers love UberPool. It is cheap and it also reduces the number of cabs plying on the road. This is stupid,” he added.
When contacted, Uber, in an email statement, said that they would not stop the Pool services.
"We would like to reiterate that UberPOOL is clearly within the law. We will continue to engage with the transport department and the Karnataka government as ridesharing products like uberPOOL are the future of urban mobility, helping decongest cities by getting more people into fewer cars and letting riders move around their city more affordably," the statement read.