There has been a long-standing conflict between auto-rickshaws and bike taxis in certain parts of the country, resulting in numerous protests and demonstrations. In the latest incident, an auto-rickshaw driver collided with a customer waiting for his Rapido bike taxi, which was captured on CCTV.
Last night 3:00 Am I was taking ride from @rapidobikeapp And that drunk driver hit me his auto in Hsr layout sector 1 banglore. I Had company laptop and gadgets with me.
He Hit me with his Auto and run from there @CPBlr @BlrCityPolice pic.twitter.com/sNPNaq4RlP
— Azhar Khan (@AzharKhan144122) May 24, 2023
Azhar Khan posted a video showing an argument with an auto-rickshaw driver. After a prolonged conversation, the driver attempted to hit Azhar. When he stepped back and started walking away, the auto-rickshaw intentionally hit him, causing him to fall. The driver did not slow down or turn back to check on Azhar’s condition.
The incident occurred in HSR Layout, Sector-1, Bengaluru, Karnataka. Azhar alleges that he was riding a Rapido Bike Taxi at 3 am when the auto-rickshaw arrived. Azhar also claims that the driver was intoxicated. The video clearly shows the auto-rickshaw driver intentionally hitting Azhar and fleeing the scene.
The Madivala Traffic Police have stated that they have filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the auto driver and will investigate the matter. However, there is no information available yet regarding any police action against the auto-rickshaw driver.
Bike taxis are illegal
The Rapido ride-hailing app enables motorcycle owners to use their vehicles as taxis. However, this is against the law, as private vehicles cannot be used as taxis. The government issues yellow registration plates specifically for commercial use, which entail different taxes and insurance. This is the same reason given by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the police department.
The authorities and police took action against Rapido bikes following protests from autorickshaw unions last year. The conflict between autorickshaw drivers and bike-taxi operators escalated when the former staged a major protest against the presence of bike taxis in Bengaluru.
Autorickshaw drivers argued that if whiteboard bike taxis were permitted on the roads, they should also be allowed to operate with whiteboards. The competitive pricing offered by bike-taxi operators like Rapido posed a significant challenge to autorickshaw drivers. They claimed to have endured substantial financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, under immense pressure from ongoing protests by taxi unions and autorickshaw drivers in Bengaluru against Rapido bike-taxi services, the Yeshwantpur RTO authorities took action by seizing 120 two-wheelers registered under Rapido. These seizures occurred within a span of four hours, with the authorities citing that these vehicles, being whiteboard vehicles, were unauthorized for use as bike taxis.
Following the actions taken by the Karnataka Police, who seized over 120 motorcycles associated with the bike-taxi app Rapido, the Pune RTO has also taken similar measures. In response to complaints received, the RTO team confiscated a total of 65 motorcycles. The complaints were filed by the autorickshaw association against the two-wheelers that were being utilized to transport passengers through the Rapido bike taxi app.