Amid reports of the Karnataka government banning carpooling in Bengaluru, the state’s transport minister said no such order has been issued
Transport minister Ramalinga Reddy said none of the carpooling apps have obtained permission from the government and he would meet the aggregators on October 3
Meanwhile, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya wrote to Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah asking him to reconsider the purported ban and amend the motor vehicle rules
Amid reports of the Karnataka government banning carpooling in India’s tech capital Bengaluru, the state’s transport minister Ramalinga Reddy on Monday (October 2) said no such order has been passed by the government.
“We haven’t banned carpooling in Bengaluru. For the past few days, there has been a buzz on social media claiming it has been banned. No official order or notification was issued. I’m meeting carpooling aggregators on October 3,” Reddy said as per reports.
However, the minister also emphasised that none of the carpooling apps have obtained permission from the government. He said the state government believes that carpooling is an effective way to reduce congestion but the carpooling apps are neither legal nor have they applied for permission.
Individuals such as friends, neighbours, or colleagues are permitted to carpool but using a commercial app for this purpose is not allowed. If someone wishes to use carpooling for profit, they must apply for a licence and use yellow-board vehicles for such operations, Reddy added.
The clarification came a few days after reports surfaced that the transport department in Bengaluru has decided to tighten its noose on carpooling apps like Quick Ride, BlaBlaCar, and Rideshare amid their increasing popularity.
Carpooling Ban Rumours Sparks Confusion
Following speculations and some media reports about the Karnataka government banning carpooling, netizens took to social media platforms to criticise the purported move.
At a time when Bengaluru has become infamous for its heavy traffic, at least on social media, many X users expressed their dissatisfaction with the move to ban carpooling as it would lead to further increase in the numbers of vehicles on the road.
The speculation about ban on carpooling started after Mallikarjun C, the additional commissioner (Enforcement) of the transport department, reportedly said that those engaged in carpooling through apps could face consequences such as the suspension of their vehicle registration certificates for a duration of six months, along with fines ranging from INR 5,000 to INR 10,000.
Directives had been issued to regional transport offices (RTOs) in several key areas, including HSR Layout, Jayanagar, Electronic City, K R Puram, Yelahanka, Devanahalli, to initiate legal actions as necessary, he said.
Amid the confusion over the ban, BJP leader and Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya wrote a letter to Karnataka chief minister Siddaramiah saying the ban on carpooling is “detrimental to the interest of the city” and will add more vehicles to the road.
Surya said Bengaluru is suffering from an “urban mobility crisis” and the move to ban carpooling will further worsen the situation. He urged the chief minister to reconsider the decision and amend the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
“While it is the Government of Karnataka’s contention that private vehicles cannot be used for commercial purposes, it must also be remembered that the law needs to be amended as per the changing times. As far as carriage of persons in private or contract vehicles is concerned. the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, are outdated and are insufficient to meet the needs of the present day,” the MP added..
Meanwhile, KNM Rao, the founder and CEO of carpooling app Quick Ride, told Inc42 that the startup has not received any notice from the transport department on the carpooling issue. He said the startup’s representatives plan to meet the transport minister on October 3 to address the matter.