• After Delhi, Ola and Uber run into troubled waters in Karnataka

    May 30, 2016

    It seems that the fight between the Delhi government and the taxi drivers in Delhi has changed the source from the National Capital to the state of Karnataka. After having a tough time with the Delhi government during the second phase of the Odd-Even scheme on the topic of surge pricing, the topic has again become one of the policies of Ola and Uber that has caused the trouble.

    In a statement issued on Saturday, the state transport department said that the government has implemented the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules 2016, which requires businesses to hold “effective license issued to him under these rules”.
    Now acquiring a license has many processes and all these processes, like any Indian legal procedure can take time and also can be a painstaking job. A statement issued by the commissioner of transport’s office on Saturday stated that taxi aggregators who are yet to obtain relevant licenses should immediately stop operations, a move which could put a spanner on the operations of Ola and Uber, at least temporarily.
    “Web-based aggregators had to obtain licenses to operate cabs and taxis. But many aggregator companies have not obtained licenses, but are operating such cabs. This is a gross violation under sec-93 r/w 193 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Hence, companies which have not obtained licenses from the concerned authority should stop operations with immediate effect otherwise strict action will be taken against such operators,” the statement said.
    The battle between the transport authorities and the taxi drivers have been going on since April. As many as 300 cases have been filed by the transport authorities regarding non-compliance of the rules. Many of these taxi drivers, who have no other means of earning income, took to the streets to voice their opinion on the mater. According to them, they have been “harassed” since forever and the situation needs a solution as soon as possible.

    Ola filed an application only on Saturday evening while Uber has so far not followed government rules, according to Karnataka’s Transport Commissioner Ramegowda.
    According to a statement issued by the Transport Commissioner's office on Saturday, "Companies which have not obtained licenses from the concerned authority should stop operations with immediate effect otherwise strict action will be taken against such operators."
    Uber and Ola continued to ply on Sunday in the state without paying heed to the government directive. The government, it is believed, did not take any action as Sunday was the finals of the IPL in Bangalore.
    This is not the first time that the Karnataka government has hauled taxi aggregators. In March, both Ola and Uber had to suspend their bike taxi services, which the government said bikes could not be used as taxi services.


    The decision of the transport authorities can be termed as “harassment” if we look at it from the point of view of the taxi drivers. Just because the tax companies want to maintain the ease of business, they cannot use this as an excuse for non-compliance of the rules already in place. Although the services of Ola and Uber have been a success all around the country, it is surely to bump into hurdles if the rules are not followed. The company policies also need to adapt to state-to-state policy introductions like in Delhi during the Odd-Even scheme. The government should follow up on this topic and make sure that the companies like Ola and Uber run on the roads of Karnataka but only if the rules are followed.

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