Taxi aggregator Ola Cabs has been banned from operating in Bengaluru for the next six months after the Regional Transport Office (RTO) found the company guilty of violating license rules.
The RTO issued a notice banning the Softbank-backed company from operating in the city for running bike taxis in the city which the transport department found illegal as the state has no policy framework. Karnataka government’s transport department suspended aggregator license of Ola Cabs for a period of six months, starting March 18.
Ola termed the suspension of its license “unfortunate” saying that it halted “bike taxi experiment” weeks ago. The company reaffirmed that it is “evaluating all options to find an amicable solution” for its driver-partners in Karnataka to continue working.
“We have been closely working with the authorities on this topic, responding to queries and making proactive representations to the ministry. 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 said in a statement.
“This notification is unfortunate, and we look forward to an opportunity to address these concerns directly with state officials to find a solution for our driver-partners and millions of Ola users in Karnataka,” it added.
Earlier, the Karnataka government’s transport department had sent notice to the company seeking a response for operating bike taxis. It, however, found the reply “not satisfactory” thus suspending its license for a period of six months.
“Earlier this year, Transport Department officials had seized several bikes which were operating as bike taxis for Ola. The officials probed the case and submitted a report to the Transport Commissioner. According to section 11 (1) The Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules 2016, the Transport Department can decide to cancel the license of the cab aggregator as there is a violation of rules,” the suspension order said.
“Prior to this, a notice must be sent to the company in question. Hence on February 15, 2019, the Transport Department had sent Ola a notice, asking the company to respond to the findings of the probe. Ola sent its reply on March 3, 2019. As the company’s reply was not satisfactory and did not provide any evidence which proved it did not violate norms, the Transport Department, as on March 18, 2019 has decided to suspend the license of Ola for a period of six months. Ola will have to submit the original copy of the license within three days of receiving a copy of this order,” the order read.
Lately, cab aggregators have been facing the heat from the Transport Department for operating bike taxis. Reports said that transport officials had seized close to 500 such bike taxis in February for operating illegally.