Bengaluru: It was like any other day in Bengaluru on Monday with commuters preparing to leave for work and booking their Olas and Ubers.
Ignoring a circular on Saturday by the transport department to all the cab company aggregators to present all the required documents for licenses or suspend operations across the city, Ola and Uber continued to ply as usual. This included their usual practice of surge pricing during peak hours.
The Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules 2016, requires the cab operators to hold effective licences under these rules. Joint Commissioner Narendra Holkar, Bengaluru (urban), says, “They are not supposed to ply their vehicles until they get their licenses from the transport department and until all the parameters under the act are adhered to. We will be making sure that they cannot continue to ply if they violate all the norms under the act. We will continue our drive and seize their vehicles.”
On surge pricing he says, “These operators can be held liable for overcharging if they exceed the price fixed by the transport department. Now, for AC cabs we have fixed a minimum of Rs 19.50. When an aggregator declares his rates at `6 as the starting price and then charges double then he cannot be punished if the fare is Rs 12, but if it exceeds Rs 19.50, we can take action against them.”
“Now, they lure passengers by showing a low minimum price but in reality the fare is much higher. So far, wherever I have checked, they have not exceeded the prescribed fare. I would like to request people to report to the RTO whenever they come across cases of over-charging,” he said.
The Transportation Technology Aggregators’ Act 2016 came into effect from April 2. It aims to streamline and regulate the cab aggregators. It has been over a month but no guidelines have been followed. In fact, operators are still trying to bring about some changes in the act.
Over 1,000 cabs seized
So far over 1,000 Ola and Uber cabs have been booked and seized by the RTO. Once these vehicles are seized, the RTO inspectors prepare chargesheets which go to the court of law. Depending on the number of total violations, a penalty starting from Rs 3000 onwards is levied on the cab owners by the court. Once the amount is paid, the vehicles are released.
Transport dept holds meet
The Transport Department on Monday conducted an interaction with Ola and Uber cab drivers at Shantinagar on the new act and problems pertaining to app-based cab aggregators.