The Karnataka transport department has confiscated nearly 200 bike taxis in Bengaluru connected to ride-hailing apps Ola and Rapido, reports said. Also, the department has issued notices to the companies for allegedly violating licence rules.
Arvind Sanka, co-founder of Rapido, told TechCircle, “We attended the stakeholder meeting and presented our experience of last two years and addressed the concerns on safety, insurance and explained how other states have adopted. We are waiting for the response from the government.”
Ola did not respond to an email query till the time of filing the story.
In a week-long drive against bike-taxi operations, transport department officials posed as customers on the platforms to confiscate the bikes, The Hindu reported. Owners of these bikes have been booked for attaching their vehicles with aggregators.
Additional transport commissioner CP Narayana Swamy told The Hindu, “Several app-based aggregators, like Ola and Rapido, are illegally operating bike-taxi business. Bike owners are held responsible for using private bikes for commercial purposes. We referred the cases to the courts concerned, and they have to pay the penalty in line with the directions of the court.”
The crackdown comes after Tanveer Pasha, president of Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber Taxi Drivers and Owners' Association filed a complaint with the transport commissioner about these services last week. Following the complaint, the department officials asked the companies to halt services. Pasha said, “I feel the authorities need to do stricter enforcement. They should send legal notice to these companies and file cases under cybercrime because it is a violation of rules to operate bike services without licences.”
Ola, which had paused the bike-taxi service in Bengaluru in 2017, recently relaunched operations. According to a Deccan Herald report, the transport commissioner has given a week’s time to Ola to explain why its licence should not be cancelled as per Rule 11 of Aggregator Rules, 2016.
Bengaluru and Mumbai do not allow bike taxis to operate.
A total of 14 states in India now accept bike taxis and startups in these areas have been issued commercial licences.