Uber suspends services across cities in India; Ola continues to run minimal services for essentials

Uber suspends services across cities in India; Ola continues to run minimal services for essentials
Photo Credit: VCCircle
23 Mar, 2020

After Delhi NCR, ride hailing company Uber has suspended operations in cities across 10 states including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Some of the key cities impacted by the suspension include Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.

"While we will continue to offer services to meet the essential and urgent travel needs of many communities we serve, some or all of Uber’s rides services will not be available till further notice in the following cities... Uber Pool and Uber Intercity services have been suspended across the country, until further notice," the San Francsico-based company said in a blog post.

With the rising threat of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have closed their borders while Delhi, the country's capital, sealed its borders on Sunday. The government has ordered a lockdown in as many as 75 affected districts in the country.

Late on Monday evening, the Karnataka Ola Uber Drivers and Owners' Association said its members would suspend all services effective tomorrrow, March 24. "In connection with the lockdown called by the state government in purview of Covid-19, we...make it clear that no services of Ola, Uber auto and cabs will be provided from tomorrow," the association said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Uber rival Ola continues to operate minimal services in all cities to support essential services.

Homegrown ride-hailing company Ola, which is run by ANI Technologies, said on Saturday that it would temporarily suspend its shared rides option, called Ola Share, as a safety precaution. 

Both Ola and Uber continued to run their shared rides services up until late last week, despite the government’s advisory to practice social distancing across the spectrum.

Ola, which operates in several other countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the UK, offers Ola Share only in India.

“Ola will continue to encourage citizens to limit travel only for essential emergency needs as per the government’s directive. We will enable a minimal network of vehicles to support essential services in cities, wherever applicable, as part of this national effort to reduce the contagion of COVID-19,” an Ola spokesperson told TechCircle.

Uber too suspended its pool rides. “Uber Pool and Uber Intercity services have been suspended across the country, until further notice. Our priority remains keeping drivers, riders and our communities safe,” Uber India said in a statement.

Uber and Ola have also urged passengers to reach out to the customer care service if they have tested positive for Covid-19. 

The highly contagious Covid-19 or Corona Virus Disease-2019 has spread to over 170 countries within a period of 85 days since its outbreak. India has so far reported seven deaths and 415 cases of Covid-19 infection. 

Several countries have recommended social distancing as a way to reduce infection rates.

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