Karnataka Government and Department of Transport will take joint action against app-based car services

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Following allegations that Uber, Ola and Rapido were charging inflated prices to customers in Bengaluru, police and transport officials plan to carry out a joint investigation into the companies’ rickshaw services.

Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra, who spoke to ET, revealed he would hold a meeting with senior police and transport officials on Wednesday to discuss ways to regulate the operations of data-based aggregators. platforms.

Complaints from the public were pouring in that their fares for car rides were much higher than those imposed by the government, he added.

The home minister’s statement came a day after B Sriramulu, the transport minister, said authorities would start confiscating cars found on aggregators’ rigs despite the transport ministry’s order to stop these operations.

“The aggregators operated in complete disregard of government orders and regulations and did all sorts of illegal things,” Jnanendra said.

The government would step in and do what it could to fix the loopholes and prevent citizens from being cheated, he added.

Karnataka’s 2016 Transport On Demand Technology Aggregators Rules granted these companies a license which only allowed them to provide taxi services in vehicles with a capacity of six people, excluding the driver .

The department also gave them until Tuesday to submit their rate structures and respond to complaints of overcharging.

The transport department will act according to the law, without any leniency, said L Hemanth Kumar, the department’s additional commissioner.

“They (the aggregators) have applied for a license to operate taxis and we have issued a license for the same. Autorickshaws do not fall under this. For example, our rules state the installation of GPS. Can we expect a car to have GPS?” Kumar, the secretary of the Karnataka State Transport Authority, told ET.

Some ride-sharing company executives have argued that the aggregator’s rules largely cover cars because they can carry three passengers (excluding the driver).

ET reported on October 8 that the companies were unlikely to stop offering auto rickshaw services.

Sources said the companies have yet to make a decision on this.

A new demand for politics

The government said automobiles were not covered by the aggregator license, despite the companies originally intending to claim that the law did not specifically provide that only cars could be aggregated.

According to a company source, even as the companies prepare their final arguments, they are likely to approach the government and ask it to come up with a separate aggregation policy for automobiles, as it has done for cars. bicycle taxis in 2021.

“We would probably ask them to come up with a new policy because this space is not yet regulated,” he said.

A change in ticket prices

According to company sources, soon after the notices were issued, the companies immediately reduced the minimum fare from Rs 60 for four kilometers to Rs 30 for two kilometers.

The fare was increased to Rs 60 more than a month ago after fuel prices increased.

But the final charges customers end up paying are still well above the government-imposed fare, which is a base fare of Rs 30 for two kilometers and Rs 15 per kilometer thereafter.

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