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Chandigarh, Mohali vrooming on bike taxis at half the price

With 50 bike taxis on the road, the service has come up as a cheaper mode of public transport in Chandigarh and Mohali.

punjab Updated: Jul 03, 2017 16:50 IST
Aneesha Bedi and Arshdeep Arshi
Aneesha Bedi and Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Bike taxis,Chandigarh,Ubermoto
Residents commuting on the UberMoto bikes in Chandigarh on Sunday. The riders carry a spare helmet for the customers.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

The newly launched bike cab service in Chandigarh — UberMoto — is creating quite a buzz among the city’s youngsters.

After a soft launch on Saturday, the bookings for the app-based service picked up on Sunday. The riders HT talked to claimed they were kept busy throughout the day.

With 50 bike taxis on the road, the service has come up as a cheaper mode of public transport in Chandigarh and Mohali.

A byproduct of the Punjab government’s ‘Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme, it aims to provide jobs to youngsters from lower-income groups.

The model has already been a success in Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Noida, Gurugram, Bangalore, and Ghaziabad. The firm also plans to extend it to other parts of the tricity and its periphery soon.

Watch the video here:

First-hand experience

Even HT correspondents took a ride on the bike taxis to experience the service first hand.

The waiting period was longer than a regular cab, which may be attributed to the limited number of two-wheelers available as of now. But the ride was much lighter on the pocket.

One of the correspondents who commuted from Sector 35 to Sector 17 paid Rs 34 — nearly half of what she usually pays to a cab for the same distance.

The riders, who are mostly young graduates, insist the customers wear the spare helmet that they carry along.

Besides the regular licence, the riders have also been provided special permit letters signed by the district transport officer, Mohali, for five years. They have also been provided a specific kind of insurance — Carrying Passengers Package Policy. It takes care of the driver (with a cover up to Rs 2 lakh), passenger (up to Rs 2 lakh), and the hired driver (up to Rs 1 lakh).

The look
  • The bikes’ fleet includes various models of Bajaj, Hero, Honda, Royal Enfield and Suzuki. Gearless two-wheelers are likely to be added too, with minimum engine power of 100cc. The models are not older than 2013.
  • While the colour of the bikes vary, orange helmets worn by the riders help identify them. They carry another helmet for the passenger.
  • Although not many drivers were seen wearing the uniform, but an orange T-shirt with the company logo is also to be worn by them.

Malkiat Singh, one of the riders who is a graduate and has past experience as an advertiser and cab driver, said: “It was too soon to gauge the profits as they are paid on hourly basis. He said a lot of money goes into the fuel, the company takes a 20% cut and people book the service for only short distances.”

The riders are paid Rs 100 per hour for the service available from 6:30am to 10pm.

“I worked for about 13 hours on Saturday but the money that I will pocket won’t be more than Rs 300-350,” he said.

Santa Bahadur, a Class-12 pass who earlier worked as a scanner at a bank, also shared similar experience.

The response from people, however, has been overwhelming, they say. Various other riders that HT talked to also said bookings kept coming in.

Is it woman-friendly?

Needless to say, baxis might not be the most woman-friendly mode of transport. To make up for it, the company is likely to bring in few women riders as well, HT learnt. Malkiat Singh told the correspondent that she was his first woman customer in the past one day.

Santa Bahadur, who took one of the correspondents to Sector 35 from Sector 17, said he had given a ride to four women customers since the onset of the service.

Bikes vs cars?

Bikes are cheaper mode of transport; minimum fare is Rs 15-Rs 20 as compared to Rs 40-Rs 50 in case of cabs The initiative aims to help generate jobs But weather can act as a deterrent, for example during rain Also waiting period is usually longer, given the limited number of bikes as of now

In UT, no permit yet

UT state transport authority (STA) secretary Rajiv Tiwari said although the company has applied for the permit to move around in Chandigarh, it has not been granted yet.

“However, they have the permit to move around in Mohali as per the initiative of the Punjab government,” he said.

About the UberMoto bikes operating in Chandigarh for the past two days, he said he was not aware of it and will look it. He said Ola Cabs, too, had applied for a similar permit for bike cab services, and the approval is pending too.

First Published: Jul 03, 2017 10:30 IST