The Karnataka government has ordered app-based cab companies to stop operating auto-rickshaws in the state within three days.
After commuters complained that they were being charged up to Rs 100 for merely 2 kilometres of journey, a cost significantly higher than what is established by the state’s transport authority, the Karnataka government banned the auto services provided by app-based cab aggregators like Ola, Uber, and Rapido. The Karnataka taxi aggregators will have three days to remove their vehicle services from the applications.
The On-Demand Transportation Technology Act of 2016 made auto services provided by app-based cab operators illegal.
“As per the provisions under On-Demand Transportation Technology Act 2016, aggregators are given licence to provide taxi services only, taxi means a motor cab with a seating capacity not exceeding 6 passengers excluding the driver with public service permit on contract,” said transport commissioner THM Kumar in a notice communicating the order.
In Bengaluru, the government requires that the minimum auto rate be Rs 30 for the first 2 km and Rs 15 for each additional kilometre. According to reports, the cab aggregators increased the base fee, which goes directly into the pockets of the drivers, by Rs (to Rs 60). Following a barrage of complaints, Business Standard stated, citing unnamed industry insiders, that the fares have been reduced to the previous level.
The app-cab service companies increased prices in part to reimburse drivers for rising gasoline costs. It was widely reported earlier this summer that taxi drivers were refusing to turn on the air conditioning to save on fuel costs and charging extra to passengers for the service. The drivers, who have resumed work following the pandemic that lasted two years, claim that they are struggling financially and that giving commission to the app-cab operators lowers their earnings.
Ola and Uber, who control the Indian industry for on-demand cab services, have constantly been on the government’s radar due to their pricing structure. Industry leaders said they would contact the state transport authorities and ask them to reconsider their directive, nevertheless.