OlaShare, UberPool ride-sharing services are illegal in Karnataka from 3 February; Uber open to talks

The Karnataka Transport minister had ordered Uber and Ola to stop ride-sharing services in the state by 3 February. Starting today, these services are now illegal.

The Karnataka Transport minister had ordered Uber and Ola to stop ride-sharing services in the state by 3 February. Starting today, these services are now illegal.

UberPool and OlaShare allow commuters to share a cab with someone else at reduced cost. Essentially, it’s a carpooling taxi service.

The benefits of the service are obvious. Regular commuters get to cut down on their cab fare, the number of trips a cab has to make comes down and overall, the service is far more efficient.

However, Karnataka’s transportation laws do not permit taxi services to make multiple pick-ups and drops en-route. Taxis are only permitted point-to-point pickups.

In a statement issued to The Economic Times (ET), Karnataka’s Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety, MK Aiyappa stated that ride-sharing taxi services are not allowed to charge customers. The transport ministry is “not against carpooling by private car-owners.”

He promised “to take action” against any driver charging for ride-sharing services from Friday. Aiyapa adds that cab aggregators did not submit any proposal for the modification of the law, says a report on GadgetsNow.

Uber has responded by starting a campaign asking for support for UberPool. "As we believe that UberPool is within the law, right now there is no push to stop the product, so there is definitely a discussion going on (with transport department) right now as we speak...also how we can address their concerns," Uber General Manager, Bengaluru, Christian Freese told reporters.

Freese adds that ride-sharing is “very much welcome” in Bengaluru and that they need to work things out with the government first and will “sit down” with officials.

PTI reports that Aiyappa has promised to “crackdown” if cab aggregators continue to operate pool services. At the same time, Uber claims that there is no official notice on the matter and that their services are legal.

Uber and Ola started ride-sharing services in Bengaluru in 2015.

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