Ola and Uber will be restricted from operating their pool services in Karnataka from Monday. State transport officials have told cab aggregators that pool services are not legal.
In a meeting held with the management of Ola, Uber and Karunadu Cab Drivers and Owners Association in Bengaluru, the transport commissioner of Karnataka, M K Ayyappa, said that these companies have till Monday to stop their pool services in the state.
The contract carriage permit under which taxi owners operate does not allow cabs to make additional pickups during a trip. It only allows picking up and dropping a customer from start to end with no stops for additional rides midway.
“We believe UberPool is clearly within the law. We will continue to engage with the transport department and the Karnataka government as ride-sharing 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 an Uber spokesperson.
In a meeting with the management of Ola, Uber and Karunadu Cab Drivers and Owners Association in Bengaluru, Karnataka transport commissioner M K Ayyappa said carpooling services have to be stopped in the state by Monday
Regulators in different parts of the country are looking to modernise laws to incorporate newer business models. But, like in the case of Maharashtra’s new draft policy on app-based cab services, many opportunities have been missed to bring regulatory clarity to the sector (Read: Maharashtra’s new rules for app cabs could steer the transport sector backwards).
Ride sharing or cab pooling is hugely popular in India, as it brings down the cost of a ride for the user by more than half. In June, Uber said that since the launch of its pooling service in Delhi and Bengaluru, 25% of all trips in these two cities have been pooled. Also, nearly 50,000 riders have shared their rides every week, the company said.
“Over the last year, UberPool riders in Bengaluru have contributed to save around 93,64,772 km driven, which equals to saving of 4,40,623 litres of fuel and cut over 10,37,000 kgs of CO2 emissions,” said the Uber spokesperson.
Ola and Uber drivers have been protesting since Monday demanding that the companies increase incentives and decrease the number of cars they’ve put on the road. Drivers allege that their income has gone down as companies are rolling out more and more cabs on the road and also pulling back on incentives.
Drivers said that they collect around Rs 500-Rs 650 for a pool ride, but the companies only pay around Rs 300-Rs 400 to them; they’re also charged a 20-25% commission on top of it. Drivers also said that the cars leased by the companies themselves tend to get more rides and incentives than private cars.