Bar on cab ride-sharing will end carpooling convenience, fear users

Bar on cab ride-sharing will end carpooling convenience, fear users
With the transport authorities directing Ola and Uber to end their ride-sharing services by Friday, passengers are concerned over a possible end to carpooling. App-based cab aggregators on Monday sought three days’ time to end Ola Share and Uber Pool services. However, transport authorities said they are not against the services if the companies get permission from the government. Regular users of the share feature said the sudden end of the service would deprive them of an affordable service, which helped avoid riding different buses to reach home.

Shoumi Bhattacharya, a public relations executive at a private company, said ride-sharing was hassle-free and one doesn’t have to haggle with auto drivers. “The only inconvenience is that you will reach home late as the software decides who should be dropped first.” Nirupama Chandran, a taxi user said she has saved 60% of the fare travelling from Domlur to Jayanagar through carpooling. But she has never risked it after 7 pm. “I would be the last person to share the cab with strangers at night.”

Carpooling was backed by a Central government-appointed committee as the best mode of transport to decongest roads and curb the growing trend of personal vehicle ownership. The Union Ministry of Road Transport forwarded the committee’s report to chief secretaries of all states on December 15, 2016. The report recommends state governments to allow ride-sharing services.

However, Transport Commissioner M K Aiyappa said the guidelines do not mean a direct provision in the law. “We need to first see whether the law provides such a provision. There are views that a clause under the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules (Section 66) allows the services.” Another official said the Centre should have amended the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), instead of issuing guidelines. “That will clear all the confusion and allow speedy implementation of guidelines,” he said.

However both officials and the ministers agree that carpooling is a viable option to address the traffic problem. Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda had last week stressed the need for ride-sharing to decongest roads, while Minister for IT & BT and Tourism, Priyank Kharge, had recently tweeted, “Car pooling needs to be encouraged. We need fewer vehicles on road. Will be discussing this issue with transport ministry.” Transport officials said Ola and Uber had not yet approached them for permit.
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