In a significant development that has stirred controversy in Bengaluru, the Karnataka government has officially banned carpooling in the city. The decision comes in response to complaints lodged by taxi driver associations, and it has raised concerns among commuters who relied on carpooling services for their daily commute.
The transport department of Karnataka has declared the use of whiteboard vehicles for commercial commute purposes as “illegal.” Consequently, individuals found operating carpooling services could face substantial fines ranging from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000.
Several ride-hailing apps, including BlaBla Car, Quickride, Rideshare, Commute Easy, and Carpool Adda, have been offering carpool services in Bengaluru. These platforms facilitated ride-sharing for individuals looking to share their daily commute with others for a designated fee.
Carpooling had long been seen as an effective means to reduce the number of vehicles on Bengaluru’s congested roads, particularly during peak hours. Many IT employees, in particular, relied on these services to commute between their homes and workplaces, helping alleviate traffic congestion.
However, this move comes in response to the protests and complaints raised by taxi driver associations, who argued that carpooling services were negatively impacting their daily earnings. These associations had previously organized a Bengaluru bandh (strike) and submitted a list of demands to Karnataka Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, urging the government to take action against carpooling platforms.
Among the taxi associations’ demands, one significant request was the banning of bike taxis. The minister stated that this request would be considered after a thorough examination of its legal feasibility.
Bengaluru, often referred to as India’s Silicon Valley, faces some of the highest traffic density in the country. With a population of 11 million, the city is home to approximately 12.5 million vehicles, translating to nearly one vehicle for every resident.
The recent traffic gridlock on Bengaluru’s Outer Ring Road, home to numerous IT parks and global investments, has left many commuters stranded for hours. As a result, Bengaluru traffic police are actively planning measures to reduce frequent congestion along the ORR stretch.
The ban on carpooling has sparked a spirited debate among residents, highlighting the complex challenges faced by the city in managing its burgeoning traffic and finding equitable solutions for all stakeholders.
Sources By Agencies