Electric Bikes to Run as Taxis in Karnataka

The Karnataka government has now given, green signal for electric bike to be run as Taxi’s. The above move definitely would have significant impact on the urban public transport. It has also made legal provisions for operating electric bike taxis to offer both, first as well as last mile connectivity in the urban localities.

B S Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka state, unveiled the “Electric Bike Taxi Scheme 2021” which would now permit aggregators and individual bike owners to provide services.

The Chief Minister stated that the above policy would create self employment through these eco-friendly e-bikes which would complement the public transport.

He further added, the major objective of the above scheme is to decrease the travel time as well as inconvenience faced by the public travelling between home and bus or railway or metro stations in cities, especially in Bengaluru.

The GPS-enabled e-bike need to operate for a maximum distance of about 10 km. The transport authorities would specify the colour of the vehicle, but the riders should compulsorily wear yellow helmets as well as a jacket having words “Electric Bike Taxi” which should be marked in reflective color.

The riders must have their antecedents checked and also approved by the police.

As to question about the exemption offered to service providers with less than 50 bikes taxing from installing GPS devices, an official in the transport department stated they would definitely have relook into this matter. We would ensure to make all e-bikes comply with rule. The data must be shared with the concerned authorities, he stated.

All those who are interested in providing the above service must apply for a 5 year license, under the Karnata on Demand transport Technology Aggregator Rules 2016. The individual bike owners who wish to operate bike taxis are exempted from paying the license fee as well as the Rs.5,000 security deposit. However, the taxes, fitness certificate and insurance rules would apply. An official notification on the scheme is more likely to issued in the Thursday’s gazette, indicating as to when it will come into effect in urban areas across the state.

While the officials have expressed confidence that these measures would benefit the public, few autorickshaw as well as cab drivers shared their concerns over the e-bike taxis taking the measly earning during the pandemic.

Aravind Sanka, co-founder of bike taxi aggregator company Rapido, has welcomed the above policy, but he stated the government must consider extending the scheme to conventional bikes.

We must not forget that most of the Bengaluru citizens present own fuel based two wheeler, which can help us solve the challenges of traffic congestion and impact on income due to the pandemic. We are in talks with the state government and hope to see a similar development on this front as well. He added.

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