Matters appear to have come to a head in the ongoing tussle between the Karnataka government and cab aggregators in the state. The Karnataka transport department has issued a circular stating that the aggregators who are operating un-licensed cabs in the city will have to stop operations with immediate effect.
The Karnataka government has had an uneasy relationship with cab aggregators such as Uber and Ola. The RTO had earlier issued notices to both companies to ban surge pricing, but neither Uber nor Ola had complied. Earlier this week, hundreds of Ola and Uber cabs had been seized for operating without proper licenses. In response, Uber and Ola drivers had staged protests against the RTO’s decision on Friday.
But it doesn’t seem to have worked. The government circular released today states that unlicensed cabs are a violation under section 193 of the motor vehicles act, and if operations are not stopped by the companies, strict action will be taken by the department.
Both Uber and Ola have large-scale operations in Bangalore, with Uber claiming to have over 30,000 drivers on its platform in the city. Both aggregators had earlier run afoul of government regulations over their bike taxi services. The government had then contended that bike taxis being used by these companies were not commercial vehicles, and after a brief period of uncertainty, both Uber and Ola had withdrawn operations.
But Uber and Ola haven’t always immediately complied with government orders, as was the case with the surge pricing directives. It remains to be seen if these cabs will operate on the city’s roads tomorrow.