Ola, Uber seek 2 weeks to shut ride-sharing

Ola, Uber seek 2 weeks to shut ride-sharing
Transport officials on Friday impounded 32 cars attached to Ola and Uber after the app-based taxi aggregators defied orders to shut down the car-pooling service on their platforms. Company representatives then rushed to the officials to seek 15 days to comply with the regulations. Transport Commissioner M K Aiyappa said they had to take action as the aggregators continued the operation “that violated the permit given to them”. “They were given three days and they did not stop the operation that is against the law,” he said.

Joint Commissioner J Gnanendra Kumar, who led the drive to detain vehicles offering shared rides, said the officials will not conduct similar drives for the next 15 days. He said charge sheets were being prepared on the detained vehicles which will be submitted to the court shortly. Officials who were part of the drive said the drivers did not have any documents from their aggregator companies to prove that carpooling service was legal.

‘Drivers hit hardest’
An Uber driver whose car was impounded told DH on condition of anonymity: “I had read reports of a ban on ride sharing. But I was confident that the company would find a solution within the three-day deadline. Why did they run the Uber Pool feature if they had not fixed the problem? I don’t understand why a driver has to suffer for the company’s mistake.” Stating that drivers were the real scapegoats, he said he alerted his fellow drivers to opt out of the pool service.

“I saved some drivers’ vehicles from being detained. Now I have to run from the RTO office to the court to recover my car. A company official assured me that they will refund the amount paid as fine to the authorities. But my daily earnings are hit. Who will provide for that,” he asked.

Senior transport officials said they were aware of the situation, but were helpless in this regard. “We know that a driver is not the employee of a company. The Karnataka High Court has brought a stay on rules made for aggregators. So we can’t take action against the companies,” they said.

When contacted, representatives of both companies had no response to the day’s developments. Ola followed Uber to launch an online campaign to garner support for the Ola Share service. Meanwhile, an association of drivers attached to aggregators started a counter campaign on doodle.com urging people to say “no to Ola Share and Uber Pool”.
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