Ride hailing app company Uber has started a new campaign to get the Karnataka government to lift a ban on ride sharing. A company spokesperson also said Uber would not withdraw its ride-sharing option in Bengaluru, despite the Karnataka transport department’s diktat banning ride-sharing services in the state, because it does not believe any existing laws are being violated.
“UberPOOL is a product that enables Driver Partners to pick up and drop identified riders through the Uber App under a single contract. When a rider chooses UberPOOL through the Uber App, he/she consents to another person sharing the trip. There is a clear understanding between all the riders on the trip and the Driver Partner that the trip and the vehicle will be shared. The App also identifies all the riders and the Driver Partner. The law permits a contract carriage permit holder to stop to pick up or set down passengers who are included in the contractual understanding with the driver. UberPool fulfills this requirement and we believe that it does not violate the contract carriage permit. 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,” said the spokesperson in a written statement.
The company wants to get 50,000 people to sign an online petition which asks them to ‘agree, that ridesharing moves Bangalore forward.’
The move comes days after the Karnataka Transport Commissioner threw the book at Uber and Ola, citing archaic transport laws that banned cab aggregators from offering ride sharing services.
In a meeting held with the management of Uber and Ola, the transport commissioner of Karnataka, M K Ayyappa, said that these companies have till Monday to stop their pool services in the state.
Uber on Thursday said that it has prevented more than 9,364,772 kilometres of unnecessary driving, saved 4,40,623 litres of fuel and cut over 1,037,000 kg of CO2 emissions through ride sharing.
“We’re getting more people into fewer cars through innovations such as uberPOOL, and giving riders a real alternative to owning a car,” the company’s petition said.
The petition also said that Bangalore, infamous for its traffic jams and bottlenecks, needs these solutions more than any other city.
“As a Bangalore resident, you can make a difference by speaking up on how uberPOOL is making our city a better place to live in,” the company said. In all likelihood, the government and ride hailing companies will sort this out in the future, but for now, it is a giant pain for commuters.
Update on Feb 2, 2017 at 4.11 pm: Following the release of new information from Uber, this story and its headline have been updated.