BMTC seeks action against Ola over Share Express

BMTC seeks action against Ola over Share Express

Days after shutting down its shuttle service, Ola seems to be in spot yet again with the BMTC complaining against the cab aggregator's Share Express feature that offers journeys between fixed points in the city.

An official from Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) told DH the complaint was written to the Transport Department early November. "We have explained how Ola's feature violates the permit conditions and requested the officials to take necessary action," she said.

When contacted, BMTC managing director Ponnuraj confirmed the complaint and said the cab aggregator should abide by the law.

"The Transport Commissioner has been intimated on the cab service offered on the lines of a stage carriage," he said. About possible losses caused by Ola, Ponnuraj said the corporation was looking at the issue more from the legal perspective. "More than losses, it is the violation of rules," he said.

After crackdowns by RTO inspectors and a notice, Ola shut down its shuttle feature that offered ridesharing through maxicabs and vehicles with 10+2 seating capacity. The Share Express provides the similar option but with cars.

According to its website, Ola has 23 sets of fixed destinations, most of them in IT corridors for "quicker share rides". Uber allows ridesharing without any fixed routes, the major contention of the complaint.

The BMTC also cites the BTS Area Scheme which permits only the city bus corporation to provide transport service between pre-designated pickup/drop points. Ola refused to comment on the issue. The complaint comes after senior BMTC officials submitted that ridership on buses in some corridors in the eastern part of the city has taken a hit due to Share Express.

Asked about possible action against Ola, Additional Transport Commissioner H G Kumar said there is no clarity in the rule on Share Express as well as Share features by cab aggregators.

"The definition of motorcab allows collection of separate fares. But there is legal ambiguity as to allowing operation of ridesharing in nationalised route. We have sought clarification form the Centre five months ago. We are waiting for their response before taking action," he added.

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