Karnataka bans Ola, Uber from providing auto services

BySharan Poovanna, Bengaluru
Oct 12, 2022 12:17 AM IST

State transport and road safety commissioner THM Kumar said the ride hailing platforms such as Ola and Uber cannot provide the autorickshaw services till the state government takes a decision and warned of imposing fine on those vehicles found operating illegally.

The Karnataka transport department on Tuesday decided to temporarily ban autorickshaw bookings on online mobility services providers, days after ordering the app-based autorickshaw aggregators to stop their “illegal” autorickshaw hailing services in the state capital.

The Karnataka transport department on Tuesday decided to temporarily ban autorickshaw bookings on online mobility services providers, days after ordering the app-based autorickshaw aggregators to stop their “illegal” autorickshaw hailing services in the state capital. (HT File)
The Karnataka transport department on Tuesday decided to temporarily ban autorickshaw bookings on online mobility services providers, days after ordering the app-based autorickshaw aggregators to stop their “illegal” autorickshaw hailing services in the state capital. (HT File)

State transport and road safety commissioner THM Kumar said the ride hailing platforms such as Ola and Uber cannot provide the autorickshaw services till the state government takes a decision and warned of imposing fine on those vehicles found operating illegally.

“There is no opportunity for aggregators to offer autorickshaw services. They (aggregators) will give their application tomorrow. Until that application is sent to the government and there is a decision on it, from tomorrow, Ola and Uber (& Rapido) app, we will give them strict instructions not to offer these services,” Kumar said in Bengaluru.

The commissioner also made an appeal to the public not to book autorickshaw services on these platforms.The main platforms in question are Ola, Uber and Rapido, three very successful service providers, who offer rides on several vehicle types in Bengaluru and several other cities across the country.

The commissioner even said the transport department will write to the cyber cell to monitor these apps, track their transactions on offers related to autorickshaws.

“We will not take action against autorickshaw (drivers). We will take action only against the aggregators. We will fine the company 5,000 per vehicle,” he added.

The developments add to the growing strain between online service providers and traditional ones that have often clashed with the heralding of technological solutions.

Bengaluru’s autorickshaw drivers are notorious for overcharging, rarely ever going by the government-mandated metre (fares), which has raised the demand for these services on online platforms which provide prices which the driver and customer can accept.

Though some of these prices offered by online companies are not necessarily lower (sometimes considerably higher), services like doorstep pick up, negating the need to haggle over prices and other comforts have increased demand.

Auto drivers and unions associated with them carried out protests outside the transport department office in Bengaluru, demanding that authorities crack down on the aggregators and not on the drivers.

“The government continues to attack the auto drivers. In Bengaluru, Ola, Uber and Rapido charge excess fares. We (traditional service providers) charge government-mandated fares as per the metre authorities crackdown on us. If they (government) don’t ban them, then auto drivers and the public cannot live here. We give the government a time-line of seven days and if within this time they do not respond to our demands, we will protest outside the transport minister’s house,” said an auto driver union member.

People, who are aware of how aggregators charge these fares, say there was no violation of any rules as there was an unfair comparison between offline fares and online that come with conveniences like door-step pick up, no bargaining of prices, safety, tracking and other details.

“There are three components to any fare which is the minimum fare, the per kilometre fare and the commission that the aggregator charges. The only money the aggregator makes is the commission which is the convenience fee which varies a little when compared to cabs. Also, there is a GST (goods and services tax) component as well in which only the aggregator-based rides have a GST component. So, there is 5% on the organic fare (government-mandated base fare) and 18% on the convenience fee,” said the person who is aware of the workings of an aggregator.

Aggregators had increased their base fare from 30 (for two km which is double of what offline charges) to 60 and then added 40 convenience fee which takes the minimum fare to 100.

To be sure, the government-mandated fares are 30 (base fare for a minimum of 2 km) and 15 per additional km.

However, the person stated that aggregators have brought down the same fares to 30 which is in line with auto rickshaws operating offline and 40 convenience fees which takes the minimum fare to 70.

Interestingly, there is no provision for autorickshaws under the Karnataka On-Demand Transportation and Technology Aggregators Rules 2016, which makes it hard for the state government to actually impose a ban without legal basis for the same.

Meanwhile, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said he spoke to the transport commissioner regarding the taxi aggregators running autorickshaw services and asked him to ensure that no company should operate without license.

Ola and Uber were not immediately available for a comment.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals