BENGALURU: The Transport Department has asked three cab aggregators - Meru, Mega and Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) - to apply for licenses under the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules, 2016.
Transport officials said taxi aggregators Uber, Ola, and UTOO already have the licence. Other cab aggregators like Shreyas, Ridz and Welink have also approached the department for licence under the new rules.
“We have instructed three cab aggregators, including the government-run KSTDC to apply for a licence and comply with new rules. Uber, Ola and UTOO have presented 100 cabs each so far. They will also have to produce the remaining cabs to the Regional Transport Office for verification,” said H G Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Transport Department. He added, “Cab aggregators with a minimum of 100 cabs should apply for a licence under the new rule. Any operator with less than 100 vehicles can operate under the city taxi permit scheme, 1988.”
KSTDC, Meru and Mega mostly operate airport taxis. Several cab operators in the city, including Fast Track, Bangalore Taxi, Easy Cabs, Spot Taxi and Yellow Cabs are yet to get licences as well. However, the Transport Department is unlikely to take action against the errant cab aggregators as the case is still pending in the Karnataka high court.
Ola was the first cab aggregator to receive a licence under the new rules. Uber had initially opposed the new rule but later applied for the licence. UTOO cabs, which was recently launched in the city, also has the licence under the new law. Aggregators with more than 100 cabs in the city are likely to apply for the license in the next few months.
In 2016, Karnataka became the first state in the country to regulate cab aggregators by introducing the Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules. According to this, cab aggregators can’t impose surge pricing, fares should not go above government-fixed charge (Rs 19.5 per km for an AC taxi and Rs 14.50 per km for non-AC taxi), install GPS and panic buttons in all cabs, taxi signs on top of car and have a dedicated call centre. It also mandates that drivers should be residents of Karnataka for at least two years and should not work more than eight hours a day.
As per records of the Transport Department, 1,31,611 taxis operate in city limits. Uber and Ola are estimated to operate nearly 50,000 cars in the city.