Why has Uber started the #BlrNeedsPool campaign?

Cab hailing service provider, Uber, yesterday, started the #BlrNeedsPool campaign on Twitter, and is urging people to sign a petition. The trouble for Uber and the home-grown cab aggregator, Ola, started on January 31, when the South Indian state of Karnataka, gave the two companies three days to wind up their cab-pooling service in Bangalore. Now, reports are emerging that another South Indian state of Tamil Nadu too would ban the car-pooling service in Chennai. The governments feels that as per the respective Motor Vehicle Rules, pooling is illegal. Uber and Ola have contract carriage permits, which do not allow them to pick up and drop passengers during the course of a trip. Such a permit only allows for point-to-point pick-ups and drops. The stage carriage permit, which allows pick-ups and drop-offs along a particular route, are accorded to transport buses, besides school and college buses. Uber Technologies feels that its UberPOOL service is not illegal and has started a petition to garner public support. According to the company UberPOOL has prevented more than 9,364,772 kilometres of unnecessary driving; saved 440,623 litres of fuel by allowing it to match riders using similar routes; and cut over 1,037,000 kg of CO2 emissions by sharing a ride.
Technology today provides an alternative to a world that looks like a parking lot and moves like a traffic jam. If there is one city in the country that needs these solutions more than any other – it is Bangalore. As a Bangalore resident, you can make a difference by speaking up on how uberPOOL is making our city a better place to live in. Help make sure our city moves forward on ridesharing, through products like uberPOOL and uberMOTO. We’re excited for Bangalore to join other progressive cities around the world by embracing the benefits ridesharing brings to cities, by working with the government of Karnataka.
Nearly 30,000 people had signed the petition at the time of writing the story. Meanwhile, Ola too has its own Twitter hashtag #BLRDoYourShare, urging people to convince the government to allow cab-pooling.

How did the trouble start?

Trouble for Uber and Ola started in Bangalore in December last year, when the taxi drivers went on a partial strike to protest against the hike in commission per ride — from 10% a year ago to 30% now — they have to pay to the companies. The drivers had been unhappy with with flat fares for airport rides too. The drivers are also not in favor of car-pooling, as the service impacts their profits. There have been complaints in regards to safety too with passengers complaining about unruly behavior by “drunk” fellow passengers. Representations were submitted to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which subsequently asked the states to check the local laws if the service was legal or not. The laws, however, as of now deem car-pooling illegal.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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