What’s the news: After ride aggregators, carpooling services are facing the heat in Bengaluru, with the Karnataka government announcing a ban on the use of whiteboard vehicles for commercial commute purposes. In an interview with News18, Karnataka’s Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy clarified that while there is no government order prohibiting carpooling in the state capital, action will be taken against aggregators who operate carpooling apps as a commercial venture. The decision comes after a strike observed by taxi driver associations against such services.
ಕಾರ್ಪೂಲಿಂಗ್ ನಿಷೇಧಿಸಿಲ್ಲ, ಇದು ಸುಳ್ಳು ಸುದ್ದಿ.
ಮೊದಲು ಅವರು ಸರ್ಕಾರದಿಂದ ಅನುಮತಿಯನ್ನು ಪಡೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿ. ಅವರು ಅನುಮತಿಯನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳದಿರುವಾಗ ನಿಷೇಧದ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಎಲ್ಲಿದೆ?
ಪ್ರತಿಯೊಬ್ಬರೂ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ನಿಯಮಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ನಿಬಂಧನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಅನುಸರಿಸಬೇಕು.
ಬಿಳಿ ನಂಬರ್ ಪ್ಲೇಟ್ಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ವಾಣಿಜ್ಯೇತರ ಖಾಸಗಿ ವಾಹನಗಳನ್ನು…
— Ramalinga Reddy (@RLR_BTM) October 2, 2023
Gig workers support restrictions on carpooling services: While Reddy had later clarified that there was no ‘ban’ on carpooling itself, the initial announcement caused considerable confusion, with MPs like Tejasvi Surya voicing road congestion concerns and asking that such services be allowed.
Carpooling can get private vehicles off the road & bring ease during peak hour commute.
Vehicular population has increased by 6,000% since 1990, making Bengaluru, a city with highest vehicle density that commutes at 15kmph.
A ban on car-pooling only encourages congestion, the… pic.twitter.com/R2e3ja76zS
— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) October 1, 2023
Interestingly, rather than the government, Shaik Salauddin, General Secretary of the Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT) responded to Surya’s tweet. Speaking on behalf of the organisation, he said:
“We want to tell the MP Tejasvi Surya that private vehicles operating for commercial purposes is illegal and unethical. Promoting services of carpooling apps who are bypassing payment to the state exchequer, and flouting state rules for operating ride hailing/sharing services is wrong. Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU) and Indian Federation of App based Transport Workers (IFAT) speaking for ride hailing and sharing drivers of India want you to understand that the commercial drivers who are paying the road tax, getting the necessary permits to keep the passengers safe are being outplaced by these carpooling app companies. These companies are affecting the livelihood of our driver brothers and sisters. Please consider the hardworking ride hailing and sharing drivers whose lives and livelihood is transport.”
Bengaluru is a popular metropolitan area whose residents often rely on aggregator apps to hail rides without having to haggle with the driver for the fare. This makes the city a prime location for apps like Ola, Uber, as well as apps providing carpool services like Quickride, Carpool Adda, etc. The restrictions will likely affect the businesses of these apps. Moreover, considering the short-lived ban on autorickshaws in 2022, such decisions indicate the government’s growing attention towards regularizing such business ventures.
Aside from carpooling services, gig workers and taxi drivers in the city also opposed the plying of bike taxis – a demand that was submitted by the taxi drivers to the government during their strike. The same is currently under consideration as per media reports.
Note: Headline of the story was updated on October 4, 2023 at 4:10 PM for improved comprehension.
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