Just as the drivers’ protest against Ola has mellowed down, the taxi-aggregator is in trouble once again. This time for not complying with the rules of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act.
On Tuesday morning, a Special Investigation Team formed by the Karnataka Transport Department seized two Ola omni buses for running the Ola Shuttle services.
The team also seized two Tempo Travellers belonging to a private shuttle service called Zipgo.
“Just an hour after the team seized the vehicles, the company removed the Ola Shuttle service from its app. We have collected proof that they were in fact plying without complying with the permit rules,” said Gyanendra Kumar, Joint Commissioner of the Transport Department.
The senior official also said that Zipgo was operating without a contract carriage permit. In March 2016, Zipgo had launched a shuttle service, which it had claimed was for ferrying techies to and from their workplaces, based on contracts with the companies.
“These private contracts are allowed but the two Tempo Travellers seized were stopping at bus stops and picking up commuters. This is not permissible as only BMTC buses are allowed to operate as public shuttle services in the city. The same goes for Ola, and it is not the first time that they have violated the permit rules,” Gyanendra Kumar added.
Ola had launched the Ola Shuttle service in September 2015, but just a few days later, the Transport Department had deemed it illegal and had directed the company to stop the service.
In January 2016, Ola launched the Shuttle service again, but for ferrying employees in corporations on a contract basis.
“In March 2016, the Transport Department officials had caught hold of Ola offering the shuttle service to all app users. This was of course against the permit rules. The company was warned and the service was removed from the app,” Gyanendra Kumar said.
“Such instances kept happening last year. When the Transport Department conducts raids and seizes vehicles, Ola would remove the shuttle service from its app. Once the issue simmers down, it would come up again,” the senior official added.
Gyanendra Kumar has submitted a report with regard to illegal shuttle services in the city, where he has recommended that Ola’s contract carriage permit be revoked.
“Strict measures must be taken to ensure that rules are not broken. We have repeatedly warned and advised Ola to stop these activities. I have written a strong recommendation to revoke the license to the Additional Commissioner of Transport,” he added.
BMTC President Nagaraj Yadav said that due to such activities, BMTC has incurred heavy losses.
"Ola or Zipgo have no right to operate shuttle services. The Minister of Transport, Ramalinga Reddy, has been notified of this issue and also the Transport Commissioner, Anjaneya. We have asked them to take stringent action against Ola and Zipgo," Yadav said.
Ola representatives were unavailable for comment.