Karnataka’s transport officials have declared Ola Share and Uber Pool illegal in the state. With capital Bengaluru known for its traffic jams, this move by the government is raising several eyebrows.
“We have told cab aggregators that share services cannot be permitted as it is illegal,” said the state Transport Commissioner MK Aiyappa.
The reason? Contracts for taxi services only allow pick up and drop from point A to point B. Taxis would require a stage carriage permit to make multiple stops along the way, and currently, the state only gives these permits to government-run buses.
“The representatives of the cab aggregators have been given time till Monday to relay the matter to the company officials. Another meeting will be held on Monday where the companies have to announce their course of action for the drivers’ grievances and also confirm the closure of the share and pool services,” the Transport Commissioner said.
The share and pool facilities offer customers rides at half the price of a normal ride. The passengers are picked up at various locations and are dropped off at their desired destinations.
Passengers are paired based on the route they have to take. However, during the meeting with representatives of cab-aggregators conducted by the Transport Department on Wednesday, the Transport Commissioner, MK Aiyappa said that the share and pool services violate permit rules and that such operations are illegal.
According to Tanveer Pasha, President of the Ola TaxiForSure and Uber Drivers’ Association, the matter came to light when safety issues regarding passenger pairing was brought up during the meeting.
“I wanted to make sure that female passengers are paired with women only and male passengers with men as a safety measure. It was then that the Transport Commissioner intervened and said that the cab-aggregators did not have a stage carriage permit, which allows for rides to be charged based on the distance covered, and hence he said that the share and pool services must be stopped,” Tanveer added.
Tanveer said that the commissioner was not aware that the cab-aggregators were running share and pool services. “He came to know about it when I brought up the safety issue,” he said.
Ola Share was launched in October 2014 while Uber Pool was launched in September 2015.
The NEws Minute Contacted Uber, to which the company replied through email. The statement said:
"We believe UberPOOL is clearly within the law. We will continue to engage with the transport department and 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. With the cost of shared rides upto 50% less than traveling solo, response to uberPOOL in Bangalore has been phenomenal. More than 25% of our total trips in the city are POOL trips. Over the last year - UberPOOL riders in Bengaluru have contributed to save around 9364772 kilometres driven, which equals to saving of 440623 litres of fuel and cut over 1,037,000 kgs of CO2 emissions."