5 app-based buses seized in RTO crackdown
Acting on a complaint by the BEST Undertaking, officials of the Regional Transport Office at Tardeo have begun a crackdown against app-based bus aggregators.
The officials on Tuesday and Wednesday seized five air-conditioned mini buses — two at Chembur and three at Bandra-Kurla Complex — for picking up passengers from multiple locations which breaches the condition of contract carriage permit.
The buses were ferrying passengers who had booked a ride on the app of bus aggregator, Cityflo.
The buses are parked at RTO in Tardeo, said sources.
Ironically, none of the seized buses are owned by Cityflo and were hired by the bus aggregator from other private bus operators, said sources.
“We have learnt that 200 services are being operated by the bus aggregator. These buses ply along 16 routes at fixed intervals,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
While Cityflo officials could not be reached for a comment, Subhash Pedamkar, deputy RTO, Tardeo confirmed the crackdown.
Bus operators, however, said that BEST should not object to their services as the undertaking does not operate AC buses. “If the service of app-based aggregators is illegal, why does the RTO not take action against online booking sites?” said a bus operator.
According to RTO officials, the app-based bus services have gained popularity as they are air-conditioned, offer competitive rates and better facilities and services compared to others.
“Bus aggregators charge Rs90 as fare for a single journey from Borivli to BKC, which is quite a competitive rate,” said an RTO official.