Illegal advertisements on cabs

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Published on February 8, 2019 by

Despite Karnataka High Court’s ban on advertisements on vehicles last year, commercial cabs are still being used for advertisements in Bengaluru City.

Following August 2018 High Court’s decision to ban advertisements on banners, flexes and hoardings, demand for cab advertisement has soared in Bengaluru. These days, a large number of commercial cabs can be seen with advertisements on the city roads. However, the transport department says that cab advertisements are illegal.

Deputy transport commissioner, Shobha M, said, “Advertisement on cabs is illegal. High Court’s banned all types of advertisements platforms for one year and it included all types of commercial vehicles as well. These ads distract other motorists and may lead to accidents. Our enforcement team is working on it since August and has intensified our enforcement on them. We have registered 938 cases against cab drivers in the last five months and penalised them with fines ranging from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000.”

In December 2017, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had ordered a flex manufacturer, Ms 360 Degree Prints Pvt Ltd in Nagasandra, to shut its flex printing operations saying that the company’s production was causing animal and public health concerns and damaging the beauty of Bengaluru city. Later in August 2018, (BBMP) put a complete ban on all forms of advertisements including hoardings, banners, flexes, buntings, posters and even wall painting/writing for one year as directed by Karnataka High Court.

Commercial cabs like Ola, Uber are in huge numbers in major cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata, and are one of the most frequent modes of transportation. Data from the transport department shows that, there are 1.66 lakh registered commercial cabs in Bengaluru City.

Since the ban on advertisements by Karnataka High Court last year, private advertisers are focusing more on ad spaces on these cabs. They are using external doors of these cabs and are paying Rs. 3000 and Rs. 5000 a month depending on size of the advertisements.

Ganesh, an Ola driver said, “A lot of people are coming to us for advertisements these days. This change has come in the last 4-5 months only. Otherwise, earlier we used to contact people to put advertisements on our cabs. They give us Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000, depending on the area of coverage of ad on our cab’s doors. This money is a kind of freebie for us as it was helping us for our car’s maintenance. But this ban has somehow put us an extra burden on us as we have to manage everything on our own including car instalments, petrol expenditure etc.”

However, in other states like Delhi and Kerala, cab advertisements are legal with cab drivers paying taxes to civic bodies for carrying advertisements.

Tanveer Pasha, President, OTU (Ola TaxiForSure Uber) Owners and Drivers Association said, “Cab business has already taken a blow in last year. There is a lot of competition in this field and we hardly manage to pay our monthly EMIs. This Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000 helped us to cover our vehicle’s maintenance. Now, government is snatching this mode of income as well.

“In Delhi, you have to pay monthly tax for carrying advertisements and in Kerala, cab owners pay Rs. 20 for 10sqcm for one year. If the Karnataka government can bring similar kind of provision, we are ready to follow that as well. ” he concluded.

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