Citizens confused over sudden move to ban ride-sharing

Citizens confused over sudden move to ban ride-sharing
Amid speculation over the state transport department’s move to shut down car-pooling services run by app-based taxi aggregators, DH gathers views from commuters who regularly use the system.

Most commuters could not make sense of the move. For them, it all seemed very absurd.  Debjyoti Ghoshal, a Kolkata native working in a private firm in Bengaluru, wonders why such a decision was thought about in the first place. Car-pooling, he says, is a convenient option for people. “There is so much less pollution, and we are saving so much on petrol,” he reasons.

In the city for a conference, Jaipur-resident Irona Bhaduri is convinced that car-pooling is the way to go for Bengaluru. There has been a debate on how safe car-pooling as a system is for women, especially at night. Women have to share a cab with complete strangers, very often men. But Bhaduri does not feel that way. “I would hesitate about it in a city like Delhi, but Bengaluru seems like a safe place for a woman to opt for car-pooling at night.”

Driver Manjunath K, who is familiar with the ups and down of driving a cab in the city, says: “I have seen many instances of people benefitting from car-pooling. The days right after the note ban was declared was a bad time for cabs. There were hardly any customers, and the few we did get had no change with them. Car-pooling really helped them here: people helped each other with the change; the scene otherwise would have been a nightmare.”
Uttanshi Agarwal is a second-year student of law at a prestigious private college in the city.

She uses the car-pooling system very often. As a student, the fact that car-pooling goes easy on the pocket is a huge advantage for her. When asked about the safety issue, she had this to say: “I don’t feel unsafe. At any given point of time, I can send my whereabouts, the names of the driver and the co-passengers to my parents. That is very useful.”

She also shared with DH the discussions in her law school class on the government’s take on car-pooling. “The state is saying that the drivers are breaking contracts when they take in many passengers at one time. I don’t believe that they are breaking any contracts. There are provisions in the law for this.”

For Wing Commander (retd) Dharam Paul Sabharwal, the ban, “if carried out, would be the most illogical step. In fact, the government should go out of its way to keep the practice in place. There are at least a thousand less cars on the road thanks to car-pooling.”

For Wg Cdr Sabharwal, it is also a matter of patriotism. “We must put the interests of the country first. If there are laws against such a system, then these laws must be amended. We have amended laws before to better living conditions. That is what we must do here,” he says.

Speaking about the system’s efficiency, he says: “You just have to start your journey 5-10 minutes early. And I hardly ever have to go out of my way when I share the cab with someone. Realising how important the system is, I convinced both my son and daughter-in-law to start using car-pooling.”

“My daughter-in-law has promised me that she will car-pool unless it is after 7’o clock in the evening,” he adds with a smile.

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