Mangaluru: According to sources, The Regional Transport Office (RTO) Afzal Ahmed Khan has served notice to the new taxi service in town, Ola cab service on various violations, and has told them to fix all the violations within 15 days. Among the many violations, the RTO is not happy because Ola doesn’t serve under the RTO. In the meantime, the local taxi operators are also not happy with Ola since they are offering much cheaper fares than regular taxis.
While a pick-up and drop to Mangaluru International Airport on Ola cabs costs Rs 250; a regular taxi charges Rs 450 for the same. This has led to many controversies and Ola drivers have been threatened by the local taxi drivers. Due to this many passengers are fallen into inconveniences when they are on their to the airport, since many a times local taxi operators have stopped Ola cabs from entering into the airport. The RTO has also also booked cases against three Ola cabs for displaying advertisements. It is noted that under Section 93 of the Motor Vehicles Act, anyone acting as an agent or canvasser, in the sale of tickets for travel by public service vehicles or in otherwise soliciting customers for such vehicles or as a common carrier, has to obtain required licence from the department. Apparently, Ola does not have any such licence and hence RTO had issued the notice.
Radhakrishna Holla, general secretary of Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners’ Association (BTTOA) said: “Even the Delhi High Court had recently directed the Delhi administration not to allow aggregators to continue the operations without framing any rules. But this has not been implemented so far.” Ananda, the general secretary of the Association has demanded a blanket ban on aggregators in this coastal town.
Monappa Bhandary- Dakshina Kannada District Taximen Association and Maxi Cab Association had said: “They need permit as city taxi to operate their services. However, Ola is operating illegally using an All India Taxi Permit. This issue is not restricted to Mangaluru. The Delhi government too has asked the cab aggregators to obtain licenses under the radio taxi laws and Kolkata wants them to register under the Information Technology Act 2000. The ministry of road transport and highways said the onus of bringing companies under the radio taxi laws lies solely with the state authorities. The Govt. has been sitting quiet despite being directed by the Karnataka High Court to frame suitable rules for taxi aggregators. The Transport Dept. including the RTO-Mangaluru has failed to ensure that the aggregators adhered to the rules. In the meantime, we have made several representations to the state and Centre in this regard, which is all in vain. We will intensify our protest if the Govt. failed to frame suitable rules immediately”
Bhandary also said, smaller city like Mangaluru should not have taxi aggregators, as the operating distances are small and it will affect the livelihood of local taxi drivers who have taken vehicle loans to run their business. It is learnt that the RTO was waiting for a clear direction from the Union Govt. whether to bring aggregators under the Motor Vehicles Act. Majority of the state governments preferred the former and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is yet to issue clear guidelines.
Even though the local taxi drivers are not happy with Ola coming in their way, but many local commuters feel that Ola Cab service is offering much more better service and benefits, like some Ola features : Ola cabs can be booked through Ola app or calling 0824-3355335; Fares: Rs 49 minimum for the first 2 km and Rs 12 a km thereafter for Ola Mini and Rs 14 a km thereafter for Ola Sedan; Customers have option to prepay the trip by recharging the Ola Money wallet on the app once they sign in; Safety is ensured with GPS tracking of the vehicle, sharing trip details online with family members and SOS button on Ola app; Ola claims to undertake continuous drivers’ verification and training.