Shuttle and ride sharing service ZipGo has launched a Change.org petition asking its users and Bangalore citizens to help it reinstate the business stating that it does not violate any laws and regulations. At the time of writing, over 3,600 people out of the needed 5,000 signatures had signed the petition.
As of now, users cannot book routes on the ZipGo app which throws up the following message: “Dear ZipGo member–Our services are not operational today due to Transport Department issue (RTO) issue.” Earlier this month, ZipGo had to stop its services in Bangalore after the RTO seized an unknown number of vehicles on its platform citing that ZipGo did not have valid permits to ply in the city. The company, founded by Pritesh Gupta, Neeraj Paliwal, Gaurav Agarwal, and Jitender Sharma says that it has a 100 employees and ‘hundreds of drivers’ on its platform.
App based aggregator, not a shuttle company
In the petition, ZipGo calls itself an app based aggregator like Uber and Ola, whose vehicles carry contract carriage permits and other required documents like registration certificate, road tax receipt, insurance receipt, PUC certificate and vehicle fitness certificate. It adds that all drivers on the platform have commercial licenses and badges, and undergo police verification. It states that ZipGo complies with all laws and regulations, specifically Section 2(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act that deals with the Contract Carriage Permits.
RTO considering taking the company’s permissions away
This is not the first time the startup has had to suspend its services – 4 of its vehicles were seized by the state transport department for not having stage carrier permits and violating rules in December. At that time, the transport commissioner considered taking the company’s permissions away as well. ZipGo was launched in August last year, and claimed to cross 1,000 transactions daily in a month of its launch. The company was questioned by the RTO since September and then turned to its users and to sign the petition to get it back on the road again.
Confusion about carriage contracts
A report from ET cited Narendra Holkar, Joint Commissioner (Enforcement) as saying that ZipGo was licensed by neither the transport department nor the industries and commerce department, and was using contract carriage buses as stage carriage, violating the rules. He added that only the government BMTC buses were permitted to ply stage wise carriers. However, Holkar also asked why the company had suspended operations when it complied with the Section 2 (7) of Motor Vehicles Act, and that it did not have an aggregator license.
Ola Shuttle and Shuttl suspended
In December last year, online shuttle services Shuttl and Ola Shuttle suspended their operations in Gurgaon for not having got the correct contract carriage permits for operating shuttle services. But interestingly, Ola said in January that it organised over 500 Ola shuttles in Delhi NCR, covering 50 routes for New Year’s Eve, signaling that some operations were still on.
Edit: The headline has been edited to remove redundancy.