RTO officials in Bangalore swooped down on a Telangana-registered Hyundai Elite i20 and seized the premium hatchback for car pooling. According to the RTO officials, the owner of the Hyundai Elite i20 had offered to pick up three passengers on his way back to Hyderabad from Bangalore in exchange for Rs. 1,600. According to the RTO officials, the Hyundai Elite i20 owner was misusing a ride-sharing app for commercial gains, and was therefore liable to be penalized for breaking the law.
How did it all happen?
RTO officials posed as passengers and booked 3 seats on the Hyundai Elite i20 plying from Bangalore to Hyderabad through a ‘ride-sharing’ app, the details of which are unknown. When the owner of the Hyundai Elite i20 arrived at the agreed-upon point for picking up the RTO officials posing as passengers, they questioned the owner and impounded the car. The case was then referred to a local court in Bangalore, which fined the owner Rs. 2,000 and then released the car. The court fined the owner of the Elite i20 for using the car ‘against the purpose of registration’.
Here’s what officials from the Regional Transport Office in Bangalore have had to say about this incident,
By using a mobile app, owners of private cars are reaching a contract with other passengers. Only yellow board taxis can ferry passengers by reaching a contract with them, like taxi aggregators do. Private vehicles cannot do that. When we inquired with the driver, he told us he was ignorant of the rule. If they meet with an accident, they will not get compensation as private car insurance does not cover passengers, unlike commercial yellow board vehicles. If anyone uses private vehicles for commercial purposes, it is violation of rules.
Notably, this is the not the first case that RTO officials have registered against car owners using ride-sharing apps to pick up passengers for monetary gain. Officials nabbed two other car owners, one travelling to Chennai and another to Hassan. In both cases, the owners of the cars had sold vacant seats to passengers.
Implications of this!
- Ride-sharing apps such as BlaBlaCar and QuickRide may feel the heat of RTO action as owners will be wary of picking up passengers for monetary gain. The popularity of these apps may dip drastically.
- Car pooling may reduce, and this may benefit transport operators, who already have licenses to carry passengers commercially.