Ride-sharing company Rapido has filed an application before the State Transport Authority (STA) seeking permission to run bike taxi services in the city. In a press release, the company stated that it plans to hire 100 ‘women captains’ in the city by the end of 2022. They will be provided rental electric two-wheelers to help them earn an income as per their convenience.
“With the recent order by the Karnataka High Court, ambiguity regarding bike taxi legality is now set to resolve. Candidates can confidently join Rapido as a captain to earn an income utilising their bikes as taxis, without fear of implications and objections,” said the release.
The company claimed that the Karnataka High Court, in a recent case filed by a leading transport aggregator, observed that under the law, a motorcycle taxi can be used for hire on which a passenger could be carried on pillion. “The court further observed that a motorcycle taxi has been categorised as a transport vehicle by the Central government under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,” stated the release.
A senior official with the Transport Department said they would allow electric bike taxis to be operated in the city. “The Central government has allowed operations of electric bike taxis in city limits. If any platform invests in e-bikes, employs riders and provides taxi services to customers by charging fares fixed by the government, they will be allowed. But no permission will be given to operate as an aggregator by attaching private bikes (white board) and run them as bike taxis,” said the official.
Prior to the pandemic, the department had sent a proposal to the State government to allow e-bike taxis in the State. “It is before the Transport Minister for consideration. We have sought a minimum fare of ₹10 and ₹5 for every kilometre. We had also written to the Centre seeking directions on issuing permits for e-bikes,” the official added.