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Bengaluru transport dept mulls over allowing bike taxis on roads again


Two years ago, Bengaluru witnessed a sudden rush of bike taxis on roads, with thousands of people as pillion riders.

The two main rivals in the cab-hailing segment, Uber and Ola, including smaller players such as Headlyt, Heybob, and Zingo, had suddenly started provided bike services on the city roads.

In a year’s time, however, the crowd of bike taxis thinned out as the administration started cracking down on them and deemed them “illegal and unauthorised”.

By mid-2017, most of such taxis had to shut operations in the city.

It appears that the year 2018 heralds a new hope for startups in the bike taxi segment as the city transport department is considering the proposal of allowing bike taxis.

It has started talking to stakeholders to make necessary changes in the regulatory system, according to The Economic Times.

“A few of those who attended the meeting raised the legal provision regarding bike taxis under the Motor Vehicle Act. The department would examine the licensing procedures and requirement of having the registration number in yellow besides other things,” B Dayananda, Commissioner for Transport told the newspaper.

The concept of bike taxis are not new in India and several such services ply in cities like Gurugram, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Visakhapatnam, and Ahmedabad.

Uber has initiated talks with multiple state governments to allow bike-taxis on their roads as the ride-hailing company prepares to expand its uberMOTO service in more cities in India.

UberMOTO, introduced in India about a year ago, is operational in seven cities after launching in Noida and Ghaziabad last week. It is set to roll out in a few cities in Punjab this week as well and has ongoing pilot programmes in Chandigarh and Mohali.

Besides, the Central government also sees many benefits in the service and is planning to facilitate the rollout of bike taxis on a bigger scale.  

Last July, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the government is preparing to introduce an app that will also include the new and economical way of commuting.

He believes that taxis will offer solutions not only for wading through severe traffic congestions in metropolises but can provide affordable transportation to people in far-flung rural areas.

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