Bangalore: Bus-aggregator service Shuttl raised $20 million from a bunch of high-profile investors, including Sequoia Capital, even as uncertainty persists about the rules governing such operations in some states.

The other investors who participated in this round of funding include Lightspeed Venture Partners and Times Internet Ltd, the online arm of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd. (BCCL), Shuttl said in a statement on Tuesday. BCCL publishes The Times of India and The Economic Times and competes with HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint, in some markets.

“We exist to solve the office-commute problem, while positively impacting issues like congestion, pollution and safety," said Amit Singh, co-founder of Shuttl.

"We have progressed in this direction in partnership with Car-Free Day and Rapid Metro in easing out last mile connectivity and daily commute for users. We believe buses are the most space efficient way to commute and we have added a technology layer on to them to build what could become a template for smart cities in India and abroad," Singh said.

Shuttl, owned by Super Highway Labs Pvt, operates a technology platform that connects passengers to buses that ply on specific routes in Gurgaon. It has more than 500 buses registered on its platform and offers 15,000 rides a day.

Shuttl is one of the first few bus-aggregators that have raised funds from high-flying investors. Earlier this year, Mumbai-based Cityflo, owned by Komorebi Tech Solutions, that operates shuttle bus services in the city raised $750,000 from IDG Ventures.

The buses registered on these platforms often compete directly with the state-run bus services, much to the ire of transport authorities in some states where they have come down heavily on such operators.

Last week, Bengaluru-based bus and van aggregator ZipGo Technologies Pvt was forced to shut down after the Karnataka state transport department officials raided its office alleging the company is violating rules and operating without permits. The company has denied all allegations and resumed operations on Monday.

Many app-based transport companies have mushroomed over the last six months buoyed by the success of ride-hailing cab companies such as Ola, owned by ANI Technologies, and US-based Uber Technologies. Many of them operate in a regulatory vaccum similar when they started out five years ago.

In October, the central government issued guidelines for this new business model, identifying cab aggregators as on-demand information technology-based transportation aggregators and not as taxi firms. However, these guidelines are not binding on state governments, which have powers to create their own rules.

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