March 25, 2019 / 8:48 AM / 25 days ago

India's Karnataka state lets off Ola with a fine

March 25 (Reuters) - The southern Indian state of Karnataka slapped a 1.5 million-rupee ($21,754) fine on ride-hailing service Ola on Monday for running motorcycle taxis without permission and revoked an earlier suspension on its licence.

Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, is considered India’s Silicon Valley and one of its most populated cities where Ola and San Francisco-based Uber compete for millions of riders.

V.P. Ikkeri, state commissioner for transport and road safety, said the ban had been lifted after the fine was imposed on Ola for operating motorcycle taxis without a permit.

“We are glad that the issue stands resolved and we regret any inconvenience caused to our driver-partners and passengers since Friday,” Ola said in a statement.

Despite the ban, users in Bengaluru reported that they were still able to book a taxi or an auto-rickshaw through Ola’s app over the weekend.

Ola’s permit, obtained in 2017 and valid through 2021, allows it to run three and four-wheeler taxis in Karnataka. The company, backed by SoftBank Group Corp and Tencent Holdings Ltd, ran the risk of having to give up its permit in the state. ($1 = 68.9540 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Arnab Paul; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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