State government bans carpooling, ride-sharing apps
Mumbai: The state government has banned carpooling and bike-sharing apps which use non-transport vehicles
Mumbai: The state government has banned carpooling and bike-sharing apps which use non-transport vehicles. The transport department and Regional Transport Office (RTO) will start a crackdown on such aggregators. The development comes after Rapido – a bike-taxi service – was suspended on January 19.
Non-transport vehicles are those which are not registered with yellow number plates, but are used for commercial purposes.
Currently, several app-based car and bike aggregators are operating in Mumbai. Sources in the RTO said that the majority of these apps offer carpooling and bike-sharing services.
“These apps present various offers on rates and pricing which aren’t approved by the government authorities. Moreover, there is no control or monitoring done on the app-based operator, the riders and users of these services who use non-transport vehicles for the same,” said an RTO officer.
For instance, most of these apps invite other members on the app to join a particular route at a specific time and then travel together in a non-transport vehicle. The fares or points; as decided by the apps are deducted from the account of the user or one pays to the driver who initiates the carpool or bike share. Moreover, most of these apps only present the superficial benefits of how carpooling reduces air pollution, is sustainable for the environment by reducing carbon footprint, and even promotes the illusion that carpooling widen professional networks.
The Transport department officials said that there is no control over these activities and the Maharashtra government on January 19 decided to prohibit the use of non-transport vehicles including two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers for aggregation and ride-pooling.
“We are working on final details of what needs to be done next after which we are looking at working out a mechanism to crack down on such carpooling and ride-sharing platforms that use non-transport vehicles,” said a senior official from the Transport Department.
Meanwhile, Rapido bike-taxi aggregator, handled by Roppen Transportation Services Private Limited, has claimed that the Maharashtra state government’s decision (notification of January 19, 2023) to prohibit private aggregators and ride-pooling vehicles, has deprived millions of citizens of exercising their rights to use a reliable and efficient mode of local transport. And that it has suddenly created a situation that has the potential to deprive over 2 lakh employees with them in Maharashtra.
“This arbitrary decision by the government will put the commuters at the mercy of poor transport facilities and a lack of urban infrastructure that does not provide low-cost last-mile connectivity. Rapido will continue to strive in its endeavour to provide a source of income to its employees as their dependent families, whose livelihoods will be affected due to this, and is evaluating judicial remedies, including arising from the rejection of its licence attributed inter-alia to lack of a state government’s will to formulate a cohesive policy favourable to the citizens of the state”, said a Rapido spokesperson.
Rapido claims that there are 1,40,000 bike captains and 70,000 auto captains that they cater to. However, they refused to share the number of bikes and auto rickshaws that are plying on their platform. The company further claimed that there are 9,00,000 bike customers and 5,00,000 customers using autos, who ferry in 35,000 bike rides and 20,000 auto rides every day in Mumbai. However, they have not mentioned the dateline from which these numbers are calculated.