Ola cabs begins its shuttle service in Bengaluru; govt calls it illegal

By: | Updated: January 12, 2016 12:47 PM

Taxi aggregator Ola has introduced its shuttle service in Bengaluru primarily targeting customers in the IT corridor routes, though there is a standing directive from the Karnataka government...

OlaOla had announced that it would launch the shuttle service in September last year, however the project never took off in Bengaluru for various reasons.

Taxi aggregator Ola has introduced its shuttle service in Bengaluru primarily targeting customers in the IT corridor routes, though there is a standing directive from the Karnataka government that no such services will be permitted. The government has already cracked the whip on Zipgo, a startup that ran similar services in Bengaluru, in December last year.

Speaking to FE, Hemantha Kumara L, the state’s additional commissioner for transport said, “They are not authorised to ply shuttles in Bengaluru city. The government of Karnataka has issued a notification saying except the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), no other stage carrier should ply in the entire city. This is in accordance with the scheme under Karnataka Motor Vehicle Act and action would be taken against these companies if they are seen violating the rules,” he added.

The Ola shuttle service is operational from places like Manyata Tech Park, Whitefield, EGL campus, Bagamane Tech Park and surrounding areas, with 6 seaters and 12 seaters, charging a minimum of R30 for the first 5kms and R4/km thereafter subject to a maximum fare of R80. The service is available for select customers with the first ride being free.

Ola officials declined to comment on the same and maintained that the service has not resumed yet. However, this reporter was able to book the ticket on Monday morning and also received an invoice for the same via e-mail. Till Saturday booking a shuttle service on Ola provided futile. Ola had announced that it would launch the shuttle service in September last year, however the project never took off in Bengaluru for various reasons. The company has committed to invest $50 million for the same.

In December, Ola shuttle was suspended in Gurgaon due to similar reasons. According to the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) in Gurgaon, Ola shuttle don’t fall in the ambit of Haryana Contract Carriage Permit Act and they had intra-city permit only. While in Delhi, the company said they see immense demand from users travelling towards Gurgaon from Delhi during the day as well as to residential areas during the evening. In Delhi the company is operating on 100 routes with around 500 shuttles on its platform.

“In Delhi, users can get an Ola Shuttle every five to ten minutes between 8 am to 9 pm on working days. Each shuttle can carry between 12 to 49 passengers depending on the type of vehicle used. This is a point to point service,” the company said.

Commenting on the development, Ekroop Caur, managing director, BMTC said, “It is also not good for the city like this where there is already oversupply of vehicles and that too with no control. There should be healthy competition, of course, but there should be a level playing field. They can’t ply only on the profit making routes and push the public sector undertakings on loss making routes. We have created a huge infrastructure using public money. Let them also invest and create or pay for it.”

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