In somewhat of a shocking news, the Delhi government, through the Delhi Transport Department, issued a public notice on February 20 ordering all major cab aggregators, including Ola, Uber, and Rapido, to suspend their bike taxi services effective immediately. The Delhi Transport Department has indicated that any organization or anyone found in violation of this would face a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first offense and a fine of Rs 10,000 and jail for the second or subsequent infractions.
Ola, Uber and Rapido bike taxis could be back on Delhi roads once these companies fully electrify their fleets. In other words, every Rapido, Ola or Uber bike taxi rider must ride an electric two wheeler to get back onto Delhi roads. Here’s a statement from the Delhi transport department,
The aggregator policy, which is being finalized, plans to bring in norms to regularise bike taxis. The policy will make it mandatory for aggregators to on-board electric two wheelers and encourage sustainable transportation, which is our focus.
Talking about the current ban, the transport department stated,
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 purely commercial operation and a violation of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. In addition, the driving license of the driver will be suspended for a minimum period of three years,” Moreover, the concerned authority stated that the digital organisations, notably the Ola, Uber, and Rapido applications, that are aiding this operation would be fined Rs 1 lakh under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Prior to this ban in Delhi, the bike taxi aggregator Rapido was directed by Bombay High Court in January of this year, to shut operations effective immediately as the startup is yet to receive a license to operate from the Maharashtra government. Despite the requests from the startup the app was asked to be shut off completely.
Following this the startup then appealed to the state government to take a “holistic view” of the matter at hand. In a statement issued by the company it stated, “While Rapido continues to evaluate its legal options, Rapido appeals to the state government to use this opportunity to take a holistic view on the matter at hand, given the current situation in the state and the emergence of the need for robust last mile mobility to support the existing and upcoming public transport infrastructure, Rapido is well geared to utilize existing assets,” The statement further added, “Most importantly a progressive approach by the state government will provide cost effective transportation option for hundreds of thousands of the state’s citizens,”
In a similar situation of banning the services of these major cab aggregators back in October of 2022, the Karnataka Transport Department also issued a notice to major ride-hailing firms, Ola, Uber, and Rapido to cease the operations of their autos running in the state. Also, the department demanded the companies to provide a report on the rising cost of rides. The notice was issued on the 6th of October and the Transport Department gave the aggregates a total of 3 days to shut down the operations of autos.
Speaking on the issuance of this order, the transport commissioner THM Kumar in a notice said, “As per the provisions under On-Demand Transportation Technology Act 2016 aggregators are given license to provide taxi services only, taxi means a motor cab having a seating capacity not exceeding 6 passengers excluding the driver with public service permit on contract” The notice further added, “The companies should submit an explanation about illegal autorickshaw operation, you are advised to submit it within 3 days. If not, legal action will be taken,”