Ride hailing service Uber
will not withdraw its ridesharing
service, UberPOOL, in this city, its largest market in the country. This is despite the state transport department warning the company of action for offering a service it has deemed illegal.
“We very much believe in the legality of UberPOOL
and if you see the law, it says a driver can stop, pick up and drop off passengers if it is all under the same contract. That’s exactly the same thing that happens in UberPOOL,” said Christian Freese, general manager of Uber
In a meeting with Uber
and its Indian counterpart, Ola, along with drivers from both platforms on Monday, the transport department directed both companies
to follow the law, saying it prohibits them from operating ride-sharing services.
M K Aiyappa, state commissioner of transport, said both Uber
had only contract carriage permits. This does not allow them to take and drop passengers during the course of a trip. Only stage carriage permit holders may do so and that is given only to the city bus corporation, school buses and vehicles used by companies
to take employees to and from the workplace.
“If they do not withdraw the service from tomorrow, we will definitely take action. They'd indicated they'd fall in line and withdraw the services. They had sought time to make an adequate representation but I have not heard back from them,” said Aiyappa.
After initially agreeing to the department’s demands, on Thursday, a day ahead of the deadline for Uber
to withdraw rideshare services in the city, the US-based company said it would campaign for public support against the government mandate.
did not respond to queries asking if it would withdraw its Ola
“If you use UberPOOL, you know that you are sharing the cab with other passengers. Then, there’s a contract formed with you and the driver and potentially other riders and that’s all under one contract. That’s why we believe even now it’s totally legal and within the laws,” added Freese.
This is the second time Uber
has challenged Karnataka’s laws. The company had taken the state to court over the on-demand taxi aggregator rulee introduced in April last year, calling these unconstitutional. In the weeks prior to Uber
filing its petition in the court, the Karnataka
transport department had with the help of the city police begun booking cabs operating on the platform and even impounding these.
In November, the Karnataka
high court ruled in favour of the state, forcing Uber
to obtain a licence to operate here, end surge pricing and stick to the maximum fares set by the government.
globally adopts a policy of knowingly violating norms, in the US, UK and India, among other countries, with the aim of getting local authorities to reform laws to its advantage. Last year, Uber
had deployed autonomous cars without proper permits to ply on the roads of San Francisco but was forced to remove these after the authorities revoked its registration.
On Thursday, Uber
sent an e-mail to all its customers in Bengaluru, asking them to support its rideshare service. The online petition, which is looking to gather 50,000 votes, was backed by close to 7,000 people at the time of writing this. The campaign does not however verify the e-mail IDs of individuals making the pledge.