The Karnataka government’s decision to suspend Ola in Bengaluru due to its illegal bike taxi service has left its cab drivers in a fix.

Drivers left in the lurch after Ola license suspended in Bengaluru for 6 months
news Transportation Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 18:36

A day after it came to light that cab aggregator Ola will be suspended from operating in Bengaluru for six months, cab drivers in the city have opposed the decision.

Speaking to The News Minute, Syed Noussef, a driver from Hoskote operating in Bengaluru, said that he does not know what to do to earn a livelihood for the next six months. "I have been driving with Ola for the last four years. Suddenly, the government decides to ban the company. Drivers like me are affected by this decision. Where will I take my vehicle in the next six months? How am I supposed to maintain a home with two children and parents if I cannot take my car out?" he questions. 

Syed adds that the state government should provide alternative jobs for drivers affected by the suspension. "If we are not provided with jobs, we may take to the streets over this issue,” he says. 

Syed's words are echoed by Murali, another cab driver who hails from Bengaluru and has been with Ola for two years. "It will be difficult if the ban is there for six months. We have put our faith in this livelihood. Today, the government is saying Ola and then if they say Uber, where will we turn?" he asks.

According to reports, there are an estimated 65,000 Ola cab drivers operating in Bengaluru.

The RTO suspended Ola after the cab aggregator operated bike taxis that are illegal as per the Karnataka on Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules 2016. Bike taxis are also strongly opposed by the Ola TaxiForSure and Uber Drivers’ Association who fear of loss of business.

The suspension notice, which was sent to Ola on Friday, states that it cannot run its aggregator service for any vehicles including cars, autos and bikes in the city for the next six months.

Calling the suspension order “unfortunate”, Ola had said in a statement that it was proactively working with the authorities to come up with an amicable solution. “We are evaluating all options to find an amicable solution wherein hundreds of thousands of driver-partners in the state of Karnataka can continue to work and serve the mobility needs of our citizens,” the company said.

“Despite other companies continuing to operate illegally, Ola halted our bike taxi experiment weeks ago, instead of seeking the state’s cooperation to develop a legal framework for a pilot that will continue to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the mobility economy,” Ola had added.

It is unclear yet if Ola will go to court over the suspension.

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