BENGALURU: The state transport department which was supposed to frame its own guidelines for carpooling in Bengaluru, is yet to come up with the guidelines.
It all started when the transport department geared up to impose a ban on the use of mobile applications for the purpose of carpooling. After repeated complaints from private taxi and auto drivers, that the non-commercial (whiteboard) vehicles engaging in carpooling is eating away their revenue and termed it ‘illegal’, the government was contemplating a ban on apps like Quick Ride, Zoom, Ride Share, Bla-Bla car and others.
Bengaluru South MP Tejaswi Surya in a letter addressed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Oct 1, insisted that no ban be imposed on carpooling. Pointing out that the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 is outdated, Surya demanded it be amended to permit carpooling for private vehicles to ease traffic congestion. In response, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that the transport department will come up with guidelines in ten days. However, there has been a delay, and carpooling continues without any guidelines from the state.
Karnataka State Private Transport Associations’ president Nataraj Sharma said, “Transport department is directed to listen to the private taxi and auto unions, to understand how they are affected by the use of white-board vehicles for carpooling purpose. Transport department officials said that we will be called for a meeting soon, and we are confident that carpooling using personal vehicles will be banned.”
“Carpooling is very beneficial for office going people as in the place of four to five cars, only one is being used to reach the destination. This helps reduce the already high pollution in the city, and is preferred over autos because of the rocket high price,” said a person who carpools regularly. A senior official from the transport department said, “We will listen to the stakeholders to know the pros and cons. The state transport department will draft the guidelines soon.”