Taxi aggregators in Bengaluru have yet again overlooked the order of the Transport Department by continuing auto services via their mobile apps.
Following a meeting with representatives on Tuesday, the department had directed Ola, Uber, and Rapido not to run auto services from Wednesday (October 12) citing that their services are illegal. However, aggregators snubbed the department by continuing the services on Wednesday morning.
Auto services were made available for the passengers by charging more than the fares fixed by the authorities. While some commuters pointed out the availability of autos, others said the waiting time was too long.
Issue to reach High Court
The officials in the department said aggregators were planning to approach the Karnataka High Court seeking a stay on the action taken by the department.
“On Tuesday, notices were served to the aggregators not to continue the auto services. The aggregator are said to be approaching the court seeking a stay on the action taken by the department. Considering the development, the department held meetings with senior government advocates. The department will file a caveat before the court on the issue,” Transport Commissioner T.H.M. Kumar said.
Meanwhile, the department has also approached higher-ups in the cybercrime division to deliberate on initiating action against the aggregators for flouting rules. “The aggregators will be held responsible for the lapses, not the auto drivers. With the help of cybercrime police, the department will collect details on how many autos made available on the mobile apps of the aggregators, depending on the information further decision will be taken on imposing penalty for violating the rules.” said the official.
Uber submits letter of intent
On October 6, the department had issued notices to the aggregators following complaints of them charging exorbitant fares. Though the aggregators were asked to stop auto services with immediate effect, they did not oblige.
Following written responses from them, the department held a meeting on Tuesday and again notices were issued to stop the auto services with effect from Wednesday and apply for licences. The commissioner said among the aggregators, Uber has submitted a “letter of intent” requesting the department to continue auto services.
Many auto drivers stay away
Fearing that the department would impound their vehicles and penalize them, many auto drivers preferred to stay away from logging on mobile apps.
Raviprasad, an auto driver said, “Every time there is an issue between the Transport Department and taxi aggregators, the department officials target drivers. Instead of paying a heavy penalty, I preferred to log off from the app. The government should come out with its own mobile app that protects the interest of drivers and the general public.”