Karnataka govt to launch Ola-Uber-like app by February

The Need for a Government-Backed App

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy highlighted the long-standing issue of drivers receiving only half of their earnings, with the remaining portion going to aggregators in the name of commissions and charges. The government has received numerous complaints from drivers about harassment by private aggregators, leading to the decision to create a more driver-friendly alternative.

Credits: Money Control

Fair Treatment and Compensation

Reddy emphasized that the government-backed app would not be profit-oriented but rather a no-profit, no-loss venture. The goal is to ensure fair treatment and compensation for drivers who have, in the past, faced discrepancies in the payments they receive from passengers and the amounts deposited into their accounts by the companies.

The App Development Process

Stakeholder Meetings and Decision-Making

Although the government is determined to release the app, its management structure’s specifics have not yet been decided. Reddy announced that stakeholder talks with department officials and transport union leaders would be held shortly to develop the plan. The transport department is currently debating whether to administer the app itself or to put it out to bid to a private company.

No Political Affiliation in the App Name

Reddy mentioned that the name of the app has not been finalized, but it will not bear the name of any political leaders. This decision aims to keep the app neutral and focused on its purpose of providing a fair and efficient platform for auto and taxi drivers.

Past Initiatives and Their Challenges

JD(S)’s Namma TYGR App

The Namma TYGR app was introduced in 2017 by JD(S)’s taxi drivers’ association in partnership with a company located in Kolkata. Unfortunately, the service was shut down after a few months, and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy’s financial support was insufficient to keep the project going. The Karnataka government is committed to making its app a long-term, sustainable solution by drawing lessons from the past.

Government-Backed Mobility Apps in Other States

Several other states in India have already launched government-backed ride-hailing apps to address similar issues faced by drivers. Kerala’s Savaari app, GoaMiles in Goa, Yatri Sathi in West Bengal, and ASTC city cab service in Assam are examples of successful initiatives that offer drivers lower commission rates, ensuring they receive a more significant share of their earnings.

Involvement of the Karnataka e-Governance Department

Collaboration for App Development

In August 2023, the transport department approached the Karnataka e-Governance department to develop the ride-hailing app. The e-Governance department has given a presentation to transport department officials, suggesting various models for implementation. The project involves not only app development but also maintenance, managing a control room, and overall operation as a company. The e-Governance department proposes outsourcing the project through a tender process to ensure efficiency and expertise in execution.

Union-Backed Initiatives

MetroMitra for Last-Mile Connectivity

The Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union (ARDU) has independently introduced MetroMitra, a last-mile connection project at Bengaluru Metro stations, while the government is developing its ride-hailing app. There is no need for a separate app to book on MetroMitra, unlike the app supported by the government. In order to reserve an autorickshaw for last-mile connection, commuters only need to scan a QR code. With support from ARDU, this project attempts to give commuters looking for price and convenience an alternative.


As Karnataka gears up to launch its own ride-hailing app, the move holds promise for auto and taxi drivers who have long struggled with issues related to commissions and fair compensation. The government’s commitment to creating a no-profit, no-loss venture signifies a bold step toward addressing the challenges faced by drivers in the evolving mobility landscape. While challenges and implementation details remain, the potential impact on driver empowerment and fair competition within the industry makes this initiative a significant development in the realm of urban transportation in Karnataka.