Ola slapped with Rs 15 lakh penalty by Karnataka government for violation of bike taxi licence terms

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Published: March 25, 2019 2:19:38 PM

The Karnataka transport department has imposed a penalty of Rs 15 lakh against violation of licence terms pertaining to its bike taxi service. Ola’s arch-rival Uber had stopped its bike taxi service UberMOTO in Bengaluru around two months after launching it in March 2016.

Ola had claimed of halting its bike taxi service much before the department imposed the ban.

Ride hailing company Ola has got a breather from the Karnataka transport department but at a cost — Rs 15 lakh. The department has levied the penalty against Ola’s non-compliance of licence norms with respect to its bike taxi service plying in Bengaluru. It had lifted the six-month ban on Sunday as announced by the state’s social welfare minister Priyank Kharge through a tweet. The ban was imposed on Friday.

“We have imposed Rs 15 lakh penalty for this and they (Ola) have agreed to pay,” a senior official at the Karnataka transport department told Financial Express Online.

Cautioning against any future violation, the official said, “They should not repeat this type of violation. If they repeat it then necessary action will be taken against them.”

The official added that the department will decide on the action to be taken that might also include re-looking at the duration of the ban in future.

We are glad that the issue stands resolved and we regret any inconvenience caused to our driver-partners and passengers since Friday. We look forward to continue working with the State, to help address the challenges of mobility, Ola said, on its part, in a statement.

“@Olacabs will run their business as usual from today. However there is an urgent need for policies to catch-up with new technologies & also industries too should work closer with Govt to help evolve policies for innovations,” Kharge had tweeted on Sunday.

Importantly, Ola had claimed of halting its bike taxi service much before the department imposed the ban.

“Despite other companies continuing to operate illegally, Ola halted our bike taxi experiment weeks ago, instead seeking the state’s cooperation to develop a legal framework for a pilot that will continue to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the mobility economy,” the company had said.

According to the transport department, Ola was issued licence only to operate app-based cab service while the bike taxis were never permitted.

“Two-wheeler operations are not in their scope. Bike taxis are not included in their licence. They (Ola) can operate only cabs. Karnataka doesn’t have provision to operate bike taxis. This is not the first time. They are repeatedly doing this,” another senior official at the Karnataka transport department had told Financial Express Online.

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