Uber and Ola are in for a rude shock as starting today, the State Transport Department has started a crackdown on the bike services that these companies had launched in the city. On Thursday, Uber had launched its bike taxi service in Bangalore, and Ola had followed with an announcement hours later. These bike services had seen a good response on the very first day of their launch, with consumers taking to them with much gusto.
But Bangalore’s Transport Department has thrown a spanner in the works. “The public are requested not to use these bike taxis as they do not have the licence and are illegal,” said Narendra Holkar, joint commissioner (enforcement) of the Transport Department. Uber and Ola had not obtained a permit or a license to operate app-booked bike taxi services, and action will be taken against the two companies, he added.
According to the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, enforced in Karnataka, a two-wheeler is considered to be private transport. To run a service like Ola Bike Taxi or Uber Moto, the vehicle needs to be licensed for commercial use. Passengers too are ineligible for insurance cover if an accident occurs while they’re riding these taxis.
On Friday, several of bikes were seized in Bangalore by the traffic police for operating without a permit. “The bike taxis are illegal also because they don’t have the right licence. We will not allow them to operate.”, an official said.
Bike taxis, however, run in Gurgaon and Mumbai with through Baxi and HeyTaxi respectively.
Given Bangalore’s huge traffic jams, startups have been coming up with innovative solutions to help commuters get around, but have fallen afoul of the Transport Department. Earlier this month, ZipGo, a popular shuttle service, was shut down by the government body as it was operating on the same routes as state-run BMTC buses.