Karnataka transport minister calls carpool ban ‘false news’, clarifies terms of violation

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After reports of Bengaluru banning carpooling went viral across the internet, Ramalinga Reddy, Karnataka Transport Minister, has come forward and denied any such move by the government and called it ‘false news’. Many Bengaluru residents and netizens had come forward criticising the reports, as carpooling is seen as an effective way to reduce congestion in the city. Carpooling is when a group of people use a single vehicle to travel to a common destination, such as their workplace. The minister clarified that carpooling is a violation when it is being done by private cars for commercial purposes, through carpooling aggregator apps. The reports of the carpool ban had surfaced after the taxi driver associations demanded action against commercial carpooling activities by private cars in the city.

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The clarification:
According to the statement posted on Ramalinga Reddy’s official X handle, “Carpooling is not banned, this is false news. First let them get permission from the government. Where is the question of prohibition when they do not take permission? Everyone has to follow the rules and regulations of the government. It is illegal to use non-commercial private vehicles with white number plates for carpooling purposes. Commercial vehicles with yellow number plates can be used for carpooling by following appropriate guidelines.”

What does this mean for you?
If you are living in Bengaluru and often carpool using your white number plate private car, then using an aggregator app to find co-riders and earning from the app is illegal. On the other hand, using a commercial vehicle to carpool is perfectly legal. Most importantly, if a group of citizens privately decide to carpool in their private vehicle without any monetary exchange, then it is not a violation of any law under the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.

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In a letter written by BJP, MP, Tejaswi Surya, advocating against the carpool ban on October 1, he had shared some glaring facts related to Bengaluru’s traffic congestion. Surya pointed out that Bengaluru’s urban mobility crisis is thanks to a 6,000% increase in vehicle density since 1990. He also stated that the average vehicular speed in Bengaluru is 15 kmph on average and 4 kmph on the Outer Ring Road that supports the majority of the city’s IT parks and offices. According to Surya’s letter, this results in a loss of USD 1 billion in terms of man-hours lost and then there are the psychological impacts.

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