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The Transport Department of Karnataka has reportedly seized 60 vehicles near roads connecting to the Bangalore airport and belonging to online cab aggregator Ola and Uber, for not having permits to ply in the city, reports Bangalore Mirror. MediaNama was unable to verify this independently, but Uber’s statement said in as many words that it was in talks with the RTO with respect to “the ongoing enforcement drive”, giving us the idea that some of its vehicles were indeed seized by authorities.

Uber also hinted that it did not have a license to operate in the state under the new Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules, 2016. Find Uber’s full statement at the bottom. Ola did not respond to MediaNama’s email seeking a comment.

According to the Bangalore Mirror report, the transport department has already sent two notices to online cab aggregators to stop operations, given that they do not yet possess licenses under the new rules, and hence are illegal in the state. This is the state’s second exercise this year in seizing vehicles, after it took a hold of 30 cars from online cab aggregators for using surge pricing last month.

Last month, the Karnataka government banned surge pricing, as a part of its rules for online cab aggregators in the state. At the time, multiple cab operators like Uber, Ola, Meru, Mega, Bangalore Taxi etc were operating under the Radio Taxi Scheme and not the ‘Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016’.

Also read: Uber’s $17M MoU with Haryana Govt to focus on ridesharing

Ola Zone and U Zone

A Hindu report states that Bangalore airport (BIAL) officials refused to comment about Ola and Uber’s designated car and parking zones at the airport and said that the companies hadn’t signed any agreements with the airport. The report also added that the companies had only been given parking space in the airport premises. MediaNama’s phone calls to BIAL went unanswered.

It’s unsurprising to see disconnect between the transport department and the BIAL officials when it comes to online cab aggregators, given their actions are completely the opposite (the former is impounding vehicles, while the latter it signing partnerships, at least according to the companies, for parking spaces at the airport).

Note that both Ola and Uber provide ridesharing and carpooling services in the state.

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Uber’s statement:

Uber spokesperson: “We have applied for a licence under the Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules, 2016  and the required inspection by the Transport Department was initiated yesterday. We are sharing all necessary paperwork required by the Transport Department and are awaiting our license. Meanwhile, we are in talks with the RTO regarding the ongoing enforcement drive and are hopeful of a quick resolution.”

Our online cabs coverage.

Image Credit: Nicolas Mirguet under CC BY NC 2.0