AAP govt applies brakes on bike-taxi scheme

A two-wheeler bike taxi in Gurgaon.(Abhinav Saha/ Hindustan Times)
A two-wheeler bike taxi in Gurgaon.(Abhinav Saha/ Hindustan Times)
Published on Apr 22, 2016 04:39 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By Faizan Haidar, New Delhi

The Delhi government has put on hold its proposed motorcycle taxi and rent-a-bike schemes after reports of irregularities in Bengaluru and Gurgaon where the local authorities have launched a crackdown.

Sources said the recent run-ins with the app-based taxi aggregators over exorbitant fares during the odd-even scheme also forced the government to do a rethink before giving a final nod to the plan.

The government had approved the rent-a-bike scheme, similar to that in Goa, on July 2015 but had not notified it. The transport department had also received representations from companies operating bike taxis in Gurgaon.

But it is consulting experts before taking a final decision as it doesn’t want to “repeat the mistake of the taxi scheme”, officials said.

Both Ola and Uber used to run bike taxis in Bengaluru. After a crackdown there, Ola stopped the service and Uber’s vehicles were seized.

In Gurgaon, bikes running on Uber’s platform were seized. Many operators were using bikes with private numbers and were not commercially registered.

Also read: UberMoto under scanner for ‘violating’ Motor Vehicles Act

The companies claim they are just aggregators, for which the Delhi government is framing rules.

“We were told some companies are running private bikes as taxies in Gurgaon. The bikes must have commercial registration if they want to run as taxi. We are taking details from the transport departments of Haryana and Bengaluru. Bike taxis can be a good mode of transport but before giving a nod, we want to be sure there is no violation,” said a transport department official.

According to sources, transport minister Gopal Rai had asked the department to prepare a proposal after conducting a feasibility study.

The department is of the view that bike taxis can replace e-rickshaws and autos that operate near metro stations.

The concept of a two-wheeler taxi service is a hit in cities such as Hanoi, Bangkok, London, Sao Paulo and Goa.

The Delhi government had cleared the ‘rent-a-bike’ scheme but was yet to register any company. The services of bike taxis can be availed of through a mobile-based application, just like private cabs.

“We will have to ensure the drivers are verified by police and the company must get their background check done. We will have to fix fares so that companies do not overcharge,” the official said.

Safety is also top priority. “If successful, it is not a bad option as a bike requires less space and can take you to narrow lanes too. Usually, people travelling alone have to book a cab or auto which is waste of resource. By this we can reduce the number of four-wheelers on roads,” the official added.

Also read: Delhi’s odd-even rule spawns another transport app to aid commuters

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