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Tired of Mumbai traffic? You may be able to rent a bike soon

If the Mumbai Traffic Police gives a green signal, people will be able to hire two-wheelers that could cost Rs 2-5 per kilometre or Rs 300-500 per day, depending upon the variants.

mumbai Updated: Sep 04, 2018 15:17 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
mumbai,mumbai traffic,Mumbai Traffic Police
Mumbaikars may soon be able to hire two-wheelers that could cost Rs 2-5 per kilometre or Rs 300-500 per day, depending upon the variants, if the city traffic police green signals the proposal.(HT File Photo)

Mumbaikars might able to hire a motorcycle and zoom past the frustrating traffic jams in the city soon. State Transport Authority (STA), chaired by the transport secretary of Maharashtra, has asked the Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP) to study law-and-order-related issues of the Rent-a-motorcycle scheme and submit a report on it.

If the MTP gives a green signal, people will be able to hire two-wheelers that could cost Rs 2-5 per kilometre or Rs 300-500 per day, depending upon the variants.

According to Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Department (MMVD) officials, their department was reluctant to issue two-wheeler renting permits under the Rent-a-motorcycle scheme primarily because of security concerns raised by the police in the past. Hence, in its meeting on August 10, the STA decided to seek a fresh report from the MTP on the law-and-order-related issues about the scheme.

Shekhar Channe, transport commissioner of the state, who is also a member of STA, confirmed the development. “STA has sought a report from joint commissioner of Mumbai police (traffic) on law-and-order-related issues about the Rent-a-motorcycle scheme,” Channe said. According to the resolution of the STA meeting, the authority had sought feedback on security-related issues pertaining to the scheme from the Maharashtra Police and Home department twice in 2016. However, it did not receive any information from either of them.

Two-wheelers such as motorbikes and scooters can be given on rent as per the provision in section 75 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 and Rent-a-motorcycle scheme 1989. Once service providers get a licence, which is valid for five years, they can rent out bikes that are run on fossil fuels and electricity. Presently, except for Pune, the two-wheeler renting service is available nowhere in the state, though several metro cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, among others have this service. The two-wheeler renting services are also quite popular in cities like Goa and Himachal Pradesh.

The MMVD has received several applications from various two-wheeler renting companies in the past few years. The applications are pending with the STA and hence the authority wants a police report for disposing off all those applications. A senior MMVD official said that the transport authority had issued few licences under the scheme in the past at a few places like Mahabaleshwar, but the operators had faced strong opposition from taxi and rickshaw unions there.

The police were mainly concerned that the rented two-wheelers could be used for terrorist activities or for committing other crimes like chain snatching. According to a senior RTO officer who did not wished to be named, the opposition from taxis and auto unions for renting two-wheelers, fearing their business would get affected, is restraining their department from taking immediate decision, besides other concerns such as traffic jams.

A couple of years before, the transport department had proposed to start two-wheeler taxis in Mumbai, in which the rider can take the passengers to their desired destination as a pillion, but later on aborted the plan after opposition from transport minister Diwakar Raote. Another RTO officer said that Raote’s opposition to the proposed bike taxi scheme is another reason why the department is going slow while taking a decision.

Dolan Sekar, head of business expansion, Wickedride, a Bangalore-based two-wheeler rental company, said that the concerns are baseless since all the rented two-wheelers come fitted with a global positioning system (GPS), which allows authorities to track the real-time movement of the vehicles. This also allows the company to use the geo-fencing feature and restrict the movement of the vehicles to certain areas. Also, the authorities can avail the vehicle’s movement details anytime.

“The two-wheelers also are given on rent only to them who have a valid driving licence, on producing valid identity proofs,” said Sekar.

He said the rent-a-motorcycle scheme will help in reducing congestion on the roads, besides providing another option for last mile connectivity from the modes of mass transport like metro or suburban railway stations. Also, bikes will help people in reaching their destination faster through the congested roads of Mumbai, besides helping in the development of tourism activities within and around the city.

With the technology available, bikes can be easily booked online using an app, such as booking an Ola or Uber, said the executive.

First Published: Sep 04, 2018 15:17 IST