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Ola, Uber, Rapido ordered to stop auto services in Karnataka from October 12

The commissioner's action came following backlash from the autorickshaw drivers who threatened to gherao Transport Minister B Sriramulu's residence
Last Updated : 12 October 2022, 10:24 IST
Last Updated : 12 October 2022, 10:24 IST
Last Updated : 12 October 2022, 10:24 IST
Last Updated : 12 October 2022, 10:24 IST

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The state transport authority has said that app-based aggregators Ola, Uber and Rapido will not be allowed to provide autorickshaw hailing services from Wednesday, days after the companies came into the spotlight over exorbitant fares.

Transport Commissioner T H M Kumar said he held a meeting with the three companies on Tuesday who have agreed to stop aggregating autorickshaws starting from Wednesday. “Failing to keep the word will attract a penalty of Rs 5,000 per vehicle. No action will be taken against the autorickshaws. Only the companies found to be aggregating them will have to pay penalties,” he said.

The move comes hours after 13 autorickshaw drivers’ unions set a seven-day deadline for the state government to ban the three aggregators. Bengaluru is estimated to have about 2 lakh autorickshaws of which nearly 1 lakh offered services through the aggregators. Lakhs of people have become dependent on the apps. Both commuters and drivers were upset with the aggregators in recent days due to the exorbitant fares and falling earnings, respectively.

Earlier in the day, autorickshaw drivers threatened to gherao Transport Minister B Sriramulu's residence if the government doesn't intervene to solve the problem.

The officials, however, clarified that no order has been issued against the taxi (four-wheeler) services offered by the companies.

'New rules will come'

The commissioner reiterated that the aggregation of three-wheelers was not covered by the licence given to the companies under the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016.

"Ola, Uber and Rapido said that they will soon submit fresh applications seeking permission to aggregate the autorickshaws. Their request will be forwarded to the state government. However, till the government takes a decision on the matter, the companies will not be allowed to provide autorickshaw-hailing services. This matter has been made clear to the representatives," he said.

On the autorickshaw drivers' demand to ban all the aggregator companies, an official in the Regional Transport Office said the court's stay orders do not permit such coercive action against the companies. "We can only take corrective actions," he added.

Legal action

To a question on cab aggregators operating with a licence that expired a year ago, an official acknowledged that the companies do not have the licence to aggregate even the four-wheelers.

“Early disposal of the case (against the Aggregator Rules 2016) will help bring clarity in the transport sector. The department will soon bring the issue to the notice of the High Court of Karnataka. We hope to get this issue sorted out at the earliest,” he added.

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Published 11 October 2022, 14:01 IST

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