Karnataka Transport Department asks Ola and Uber to withdraw pool services in Bengaluru
The Karnataka government on Friday asked cab aggregators Ola and Uber to stop their pool services immediately in Bengaluru. The decision was imposed during a closed-door meeting by the Karnataka Transport Department with the ride-hailing companies.
While this move may be hailed by driver partners, it is bound to bring disappointment to the many commuters who use the pool services.
Ola had faced the same trouble last March, when, in a letter on March 18, the Regional Transport Department issued a notice to ANI Technologies, Ola's parent company, asking it to suspend its app-based cab services in the city.
The two-page letter stated that the ride-hailing app has been illegally operating the bike-taxi services through alleged 'fake licences'. It also said that the transport department will be suspending the company's licence for the next six months, thus in effect banning all its services. The department's notice also stated that the app-based services are against the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act.
It had stated that the car pooling option given by Ola and Uber is illegal under the current Act. However in March itself, the government had withdraw the ban.
Ola had stated that it has been working closely with authorities on this topic, responding to queries, and making proactive representations to the ministry. “We are evaluating all options to find an amicable solution wherein hundreds of thousands of driver-partners in the State of Karnataka can continue to work and serve the mobility needs of our citizens,” it said in an earlier conversation.
Ola has been in the news lately. It recently announced a strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group , where Hyundai and Kia Motor Corporation, both part of the same group, will make a combined investment of $300 million in the ride-sharing platform.
Last month, it raised Rs 650 crore in funding from Sachin Bansal, Co-founder of Flipkart. In January, Sachin had invested Rs 150 crore in the company, and committed additional funding. The ride-hailing aggregator has already raised $74 million led by Steadview Capital as part of its larger $2 billion round.