The Karnataka government has suspended the aggregator license of homegrown ride-hailing platform Ola in Bengaluru for six months. The order was issued by the transport department on March 18 after Ola violated rules and license conditions for running bike taxis. It has been directed to surrender the license within three days.
Ola told International Business Times, India, on Friday that they are evaluating all options to find an amicable solution wherein hundreds of thousands of driver-partners in Karnataka can continue to work and serve the mobility needs of people in Bengaluru.
Ola is a law-abiding company that has always worked with the Government to develop livelihoods, improve mobility, and enable a new technology industry. We have been closely working with the authorities on this topic, responding to queries and making proactive representations to the ministry. Despite other companies continuing to operate illegally, we halted our bike taxi experiment weeks ago. Instead, we sought the state's cooperation to develop a legal framework for a pilot that will continue to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the mobility economy," Ola said.
"This notification is unfortunate, and we look forward to an opportunity to address these concerns directly with state officials to find a solution for our driver-partners and millions of Ola users in Karnataka," it added.
The order states that the license issued to ANI Technologies Private Limited under the provisions of the Karnataka on Demand Transport Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016, has been suspended for a period of six months.
The enforcement wing of the transport department has also impounded around 300 two-wheelers belonging to Ola in Bengaluru since February.
"The department had issued the license to Ola only to operate mobile based taxis (motor cabs) in the city. But they were found illegally operating bike taxis. It is clear violations of aggregator's rules. Our officials had impounded the two-wheelers attached to Ola, carried out investigation and charge sheets were also filed in the court. The response given by Ola to the notices served by the department was not satisfactory, so action has been taken as per the rules," Transport Commissioner VP Ikkeri told The Hindu.
The department has also directed the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) to enforce the rules if Ola continues to operate taxis in the city. Ola had received the license from the department to operate taxis in the city from June 2016 and June 19, 2021.