After Ola, the app-based bike-taxi service Rapido is now facing a crackdown by the Karnataka transport department for running an illegal service in the city.
The department has seized at least 170 Rapido bike-taxis, according to a report in ET. A chargesheet is being filed in these cases and the registration certificate of the bikes would also be confiscated, a transport department official said.
Officials said they will also be filing a police complaint against the company.
A few weeks back, the state transport authority had fined Ola Rs 15 lakh for running bike taxis illegally. Ola has since stopped the service but has petitioned the Karnataka High Court against the state transport department for non-issuance of a licence to operate two-wheeler taxis. Ola also sought the banning of all other bike taxi services until such permits are issued.
In February this year, the authority had 200 seized Ola and Rapido bike taxis and asked the two companies to refrain from operating the taxis without prior approval of the government. The department was not satisfied with their response and would be taking legal steps to ensure they stop the operations, said an official.
While the seizure would continue, the department also plans book Rapido for allowing the use of whiteboard two-wheelers for commercial purposes holding it against the Motor Vehicle Act. The official has also asked the drivers to refrain from operating in Rapido platform.
Meanwhile, the state transport authority is expected to levy a penalty on Rapido as it did in the case of Ola on March 25. As the department had seized 250 vehicles attached to Ola, a fine amount of Rs 6,000 was imposed on each vehicle, taking the total fine amount to ₹15 lakh. Officials have the power to levy anywhere between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per offence on those who violate the Motor Vehicle Act.
Rapido has not come up with any response to the department’s action so far.
The Karnataka government is still working on the draft guidelines for operations of bike taxis in the state, while states including Rajasthan, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Haryana have allowed it.
Meanwhile, bike-taxi services have also faced opposition from cab and auto driver unions, who are now complaining of being threatened by services as they witness downfall in their earning.