Even as Delhi government’s transport department has asked app-based aggregators Ola, Uber and Rapido to stop their operation of motorbike taxis, they still continue to ply on the roads of the national capital.
“All the three apps are showing bike taxi options in Delhi and users can avail of these services without any hassle. Most bike taxi drivers are even unaware of the latest diktat banning the functioning of bike taxi services in Delhi,” a Rapido driver-partner told VCCircle on anonymity.
Bike taxi services, being offered by drivers with private two-wheelers, were a violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which would make aggregators liable for a fine of Rs 1 lakh, the state’s transport department said in a notice.
“It has been brought to the notice that two-wheelers having non-transport (private) registration mark/numbers are being used to carry passengers on hire which is a purely commercial operation and a violation of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988,” the department said.
Violation of the latest order of the transport department by bike taxi drivers could result in a penalty of Rs 5,000 under Section 192 of the Act if it's a first-time offence. Repeat offences could lead to fines worth Rs 10,000 as well as impounding of the vehicle and even imprisonment. The driving license of the driver could also be suspended for a minimum period of three years if they repeat violating the rules.
Emails sent to Ola, Uber and Rapido did not elicit any response till filing of this report.
Meanwhile, industry body IAMAI, whose members include Ola and Uber, had requested the government to engage with all stakeholders before banning the bike taxis in the city.
"IAMAI requests that the Government of NCT of Delhi engage with all relevant stakeholders - industry associations, digital platforms and affected transportation workers before any coercive action such as the steps mentioned in the public notice are contemplated,” IAMAI said in a letter on Tuesday.
App-based bike taxi aggregators have come under the scrutiny of the administration of several cities for the way they have been operating so far. For instance, earlier this month, the Supreme Court refused to grant relief to bike taxi aggregator Rapido against the Maharashtra government's refusal to grant a licence to it.
The apex court had noted that amendments made to the Motor Vehicles Act in 2019 made it clear that aggregators cannot operate without a valid licence. Pune's Regional Transport Office had rejected Rapido’s plea for a licence in December last year.
Several other states, including Goa, are looking into the legality of operations of two-wheeler taxi aggregators, which have been crying foul of such bans, pointing out that these bans adversely impact the livelihoods of their driver-partners.