03 Feb 2017 13:05 IST

Permit violations: Karnataka to crack down on Ola, Uber

Transport Dept had given ride-sharing cabs three days to submit request

Come Friday, Bengaluru is all set to witness a showdown between State Transport Department officials and ride-sharing cabs from Ola and Uber as both cab aggregators have not yet submitted a representation to the Department requesting permission to ply, as the three-day deadline for submission ended on Thursday.

Earlier, on Monday, Transport Department officials said they would crackdown on Ola and Uber ride-sharing cabs for contract carriage permit violations and had given them three days time to modify their software and submit a request asking for permission to ply, after which the Department said it would recommend that ride-sharing be allowed to the State government.

“We are not against ride-sharing. Since both Ola and Uber have not submitted a representation within the 3-day deadline, we will have to go ahead and crackdown on them, starting Friday,” MK Aiyappa, Transport Commissioner, told BusinessLine.

Ride-sharing is deemed illegal by the Department as it violates the contract carriage conditions that only allow for passengers to be picked up from one point and dropped to a specific point.

However, Christian Freese, General Manager, Uber, Bengaluru, had a different take, “We believe that UberPool is legal therefore, we will not stop it. The law says the driver can stop, pickup and drop off passengers if it’s all under the same contract and that’s exactly what happens in UberPOOL. When riders opt for UberPOOL, they know that they will be sharing the ride with other riders. The contract is formed with the rider and driver and potentially other riders and that’s all under one contract.”

“We are trying to understand the Transport Department’s concerns around UberPOOL and will be getting into deeper discussions with them today and will try to satisfy all their concerns,” added Freese.

Petition to riders

To garner support for UberPOOL from Bengalureans, Uber sent out a petition to all its riders, posted it on its blogsite and on popular social networking sites at 12 noon on Thursday, urging them to sign and tweet their support to UberPOOL. The petition which reads: ‘Support Ridesharing in Bengaluru #BlrNeedsPool’, lists out all the benefits of ridesharing.

UberPOOL was launched in Bengaluru first in October 2015 and since then has been rolled out to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. POOL constitutes 25 per cent of all Uber rides in India and Bengaluru is the fifth largest city for UberPOOL among 400 cities around the world where Uber is available.

“In 2016, in Bengaluru alone, UberPOOL saved over 440,000 litres of fuel, cut out over 1 million kgs of Co2 and prevented 9.4 million km of unnecessary driving. I was the first person to sign the petition to support UberPOOL and plan to share the results of the petition with the Transport Department,” said Freese.

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