The low-cost pool services from Ola and Uber have hit a roadblock in Delhi, and their future is now at the mercy of the state government.
OlaShare and UberPool, which offer up to a 8km ride for as low as Rs. 49, are quite popular in the state. UberPool alone accounts for more than 30 percent of all Uber rides in Delhi, according to Uber. However, the way these services operate might not be technically legal.
The problem resides in the type of permit that cabs services such as Ola and Uber are granted in the country. Both Ola and Uber have a contract carriage permit, which according to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, restricts them from making a stop and allowing additional passengers to join in a point-to-point journey.
Only select transportation services such as school and city buses have been granted with the permission of making a stop and allowing additional passengers come-onboard in an ongoing point-to-point journey. They are granted a stage carriage permit.
Uber told Gadgets 360 that it is in talks with the Delhi government to sort out the issue.
"We will continue to engage with the transport department and Delhi government as we look forward to working with them on building/developing solutions that #DecongestDelhi," an Uber spokesperson said. Ola declined to comment.
Uber also pointed out that having services such as UberPool help in reducing the carbon footprint, as less vehicles are used in commute. "Over time UberPool riders in Delhi have contributed to save around 19,901,000 kilometres driven, which equals to saving of 9,36,000 litres of fuel and cut over 2,203,000 kgs of CO2 emissions," the spokesperson added. Ola Share has saved more than seven million litres of fuel and reduced CO2 emissions by over 12 million kgs since its inception, according to the company.
This isn't the first time a state government has raised issue over UberPool and Ola Share. Both the companies have had faced a similar issue in the state of Karnataka. Several activists and customers, however, support pool-services.
"With the looming crisis of air pollution which is making our communities and especially our children sick, we cannot ignore local solutions that have positive impact on cleaning up our air," Reecha Upadhyay of Help Delhi Breathe initiative said in a statement.
"Car-pooling is one of these solutions we need to promote in order to address the growing number of cars which burn dirty fossil fuels and make our air dirty. We urge the government not to ban car-pooling but to promote it along with public transportation that can move India towards a cleaner future," she added.