The Karnataka Transport Department has imposed a fine of Rs. 15 lakh on Ola just three days after revoking the ban on its license.
“Ola’s services will remain illegal till it pays the fine,” V. P. Ikkeri, Commissioner for transport and road safety, Bengaluru said in a press meeting.
“A fine of Rs. 6000 has been imposed on each of the 250 white plated two-wheelers that were used by Ola before the Karnataka government seized them,” he added.
During its pilot project of two-wheeler taxis, Ola had used white-plated bikes, which is illegal as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1989. Therefore, the Karnataka Transport Department had seized all the two-wheeler taxis and suspended Ola’s license for six months.
According to sources, Ola knew about the law beforehand, but did not expect it to apply to their pilot project. Many online food delivering companies such as Swiggy, Zomato, etc. use white-plated bikes for delivery, the sources said.
“White-plated two-wheeler taxis are not liable for insurance claims, and therefore the fine was imposed on the basis of this concern as well,” Priyank Kharge, social welfare minister of Karnataka explained.
He further mentioned that the state provides full support for the development of start-ups and it is also not against the usage of two-wheeler taxis. “However, for that, the companies have to abide by the laws,” he added.
Ola and its driver partners were happy when the suspension orders were revoked. “We are happy that the suspension was revoked and feel sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers. We are ready to work with the State to resolve the mobility issues,” Ola had stated after the ban was lifted. However, it has not yet reacted on the fine imposed by the state.
“The transport department of Karnataka has also handed a show-cause notice to Rapido, another two-wheeler start-up of Bengaluru. They have not responded yet,” Ikkeri said while addressing the press conference.
In 2016, the Karnataka state government had banned the use of bike taxis on the basis of liability issues. However, lately, a number of car-pooling services and bike-taxis have risen, especially in Bengaluru.
As of now, the government is tracking down alternate transport services and app-based solutions and also consulting with top market players to find a permanent solution on the two-wheeler taxi issue.