Motorists see red as Uber relaunches bike taxi service | Bangalore News

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BENGALURU: Application aggregator Uber has relaunched its bicycle taxi services (Uber Motorcycle) in the city. While commuters are delighted, autorickshaw drivers are up in arms against the move.
Another aggregator, Rapido, has operated non-electric bicycle taxis in the city since 2016.
In 2016, Whoa and Uber have launched their respective bike taxi services: Ola bike and Uber Moto, but were forced to shut down operations after the transportation department took action for running without permission. On Monday, TOI found bike taxis available on the Uber app at cheaper fares than autorickshaws. Uber was unavailable for comment. In March 2019, the Department of Transportation suspended Ola’s license to operate bicycle taxis and the order was later revoked. It remains unclear whether any action will be taken against Uber now.
In 2016, Ola and Uber received licenses from the department to operate taxis in the city for five years under Karnataka’s on-demand transportation technology aggregator rules. While Ola’s license expired in June 2021, Uber’s expired later in December. However, officials said they could not take action against Ola and Uber since the licenses had expired.
The companies approached the High Court against the rules and the case is still pending.
According to departmental records, there are over 1 crore of registered vehicles in Bengaluru, of which 69.3 lakh are two-wheelers (66.5%) till March 2022. Many commuters said that bicycle taxis were the need of the hour.
“When autorickshaws refuse to use the fixed government fare, taxis are expensive and reliable, bicycle taxis are more suitable for the city. It is cheaper and faster in this traffic,” said Ramesh Kumar, a resident of JP Nagar.
On the other hand, autorickshaw drivers have said allowing whiteboard two-wheelers to operate as bicycle taxis is against the rules. Raghu Narayana Gowda of the Peace Auto and Taxi Drivers Association, who recently led a protest on the issue at Freedom Park, said: “Car drivers’ incomes have declined due to illegal motorbike taxis and Covid-19. We pay high insurance premiums, MV taxes because of yellow sign vehicles. We also have to recalibrate meters, follow rules like the yellow badge and renew proficiency certificates once every two years. Whiteboard vehicles are not burdened with such a burden. Local police stations have contact details for motorists but there is no such information on bicycle taxis. They are therefore not safe for female passengers,” he added.
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