Govt doesn’t want to play by Ola’s ‘Convenience Fee’

The State Transport Authority, too, has held that cab aggregators have “no right to charge passengers anything other than the transportation fee.

BCCL
The homegrown cab aggregator had launched in-cab entertainment Ola Play in 2016 as a value-added service.
BENGALURU: Terming the play convenience fee Ola charges for its Prime Play cabs as a “violation” of law, the Karnataka government plans to ask the cab aggregator to withdraw it.

“Both the Motor Vehicles Act and the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Cab Aggregators Rules do not allow convenience charges. It’s a clear violation,” VP Ikkeri, transport commissioner, told ET. The department, he said, will act if it receives complaints from customers.

The State Transport Authority, too, has held that cab aggregators have “no right to charge passengers anything other than the transportation fee.” Narendra Holkar, the authority’s secretary, said, “Operators can provide value- added services such as music or videos, but that should be free of cost. We will write to Ola, asking them to stop such charges.”


An email sent to Ola seeking comment did not receive any response.

The homegrown cab aggregator had launched in-cab entertainment Ola Play in 2016 as a value-added service. The company started charging for it from the end of 2018. Since then, many customers have complained about the charges, especially on Twitter.

The minimum convenience fee for ‘Play’ is ?20 and the final amount is calculated based on the fare. Jaspal Singh, a partner at Valoriser Consultants, which specialises in transportation, said, “Customers should not be forced to pay for this service if they do not want to use it.”
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Bengaluru, where Ola is headquartered, is also its largest market. Transport officials said that over 60,000 cabs in the city are attached to either Ola or Uber. The department does not have a breakup or the number of cabs that run under Ola’s Prime Play category.
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