Karnataka likely to launch State-owned ride-hailing app by February 2024

Updated - January 01, 2024 01:55 am IST

Published - December 31, 2023 07:39 pm IST - Bengaluru

The Karnataka government began working on its own app after a surge in grievances voiced by taxi and auto drivers against private ride-hailing platforms in August 2023. 

The Karnataka government began working on its own app after a surge in grievances voiced by taxi and auto drivers against private ride-hailing platforms in August 2023.  | Photo Credit: file photo

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The Karnataka government plans to launch its own ride-hailing app, similar to Ola and Uber, this year. It is likely to be open for public use by February 2024, said Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy.

The government began working on its own app after a surge in grievances voiced by taxi and auto drivers against private ride-hailing platforms in August 2023.

The Transport and the e-Governance Departments are working on the app aiming at a February 2024 deadline. “The app’s name has not been finalised yet. We aim to choose a name that avoids controversy, political names, or any association with specific personalities,” Mr. Reddy said.

The main reason the government has taken to have its own ride-hailing app is the dissatisfaction among cab and auto drivers with private ride-hailing apps, especially over hefty commissions these companies claim.

Unions representing cab and auto drivers have consistently alleged that the commission levied by cab aggregators for each trip is exorbitant, pinching drivers’ earnings.

“We anticipate the launch of the government-run app soon. Private apps impose substantial commissions on us. Prior to these companies entering the market, there existed a cordial relationship between customers and drivers. Unfortunately, this bond has been broken due to imposition of exorbitant charges in our name. They levy ₹100 for even a two kilometre ride, providing only ₹30 to the drivers. We oppose such practices, as both customers and drivers should not bear unnecessary burdens,” said M. Manjunath, president, Adarsha Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union.

The government app becomes all the more significant after Namma Yatri, initially endorsed as an app by and for the driver community with the support of Bengaluru’s Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU), was recently disassociated from the union. It is now being run by a private company like other ride-hailing apps.

Mr. Reddy said that he was optimistic that a government ride-hailing app would prove advantageous for both passengers and cab/auto drivers.

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