October 15, 2023 Update: NV Prasad, Secretary - Transport Department stated that they are currently working on carpooling guidelines and will issue these guidelines after the Dussehra festival.
October 2, 2023 Update: Karnataka transport minister Shri Ramalinga Reddy stated that they will examine and formulate guidelines for carpooling within 10 days, responding to a letter from Quick Ride urging the state government to support carpooling and reduce traffic congestion in Bengaluru. During this period, carpooling apps are permitted to operate as there is no official ban on carpooling in the city.
Decision maker: Transport Minister Sri Ramalinga Reddy
What is the issue :
The Karnataka government is cracking down on the use of carpool services in Bengaluru and advised passengers not to take rides from the carpooling apps. The decision is said to be taken after the government received complaints from taxi driver associations.
The transport department of Karnataka termed using whiteboard vehicles for commercial commute purposes as ‘illegal’. The Department said that a fine could be levied ranging from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000 if anyone is found operating the carpooling services. Ride-hailing apps like BlaBla Car, Quick Ride, Rideshare, Commute Easy, and Carpool Adda have been running carpool services for those who want to share their ride with others for a certain amount of money.
Why is this important :
The recent traffic gridlock has left many commuters on roads for hours on Bengaluru’s Outer Ring Road, which houses many IT parks and global investments.
Bengaluru has the highest traffic density for any major city in the country. A city with a population of 11 million, Bengaluru has close to 12.5 million vehicles, which means a vehicle for every person living in the city. - Hindustan Times
Advocates of carpooling argue that it is a highly effective solution for alleviating traffic congestion and reducing fuel consumption. With the number of vehicles on city roads exceeding 1.1 crore, including 73.6 lakh two-wheelers and 23.5 lakh four-wheelers, the need for innovative solutions to reduce congestion is more pressing than ever. - Economic times
The move comes despite perpetual complaints of Bengaluru traffic, unavailability of cabs, or exorbitant prices for short distances by residents of the Silicon Valley of India.
Despite the transport department’s stance, various government agencies in the city have endorsed carpooling initiatives organized by tech parks and other stakeholders. However, the state government has not established a clear policy regarding these services.
Establish a clear policy regarding carpooling services in Bengaluru