New Delhi's transport officials have cracked down on ride-hailing apps Uber and Ola for allegedly violating norms by running two-wheeler bike taxis in the city. Transport commissioner Ashish Kundra has accused the companies of flouting regulations and has sent warning notices to both firms. He has requested an explanation as to why they should not be penalised for their actions, giving them a week to respond, Inc42 reported.
While the Delhi government has publicly banned apps such as Rapido, Uber and Ola from operating bike taxis, the apps are still operational and bike taxis can still be seen operating in the region. Transport commissioner Kundra reportedly said that there is "clearly a violation of the law," and that his department will consider all legal options.
The ride-hailing giant Uber has reportedly sought a meeting with officials to discuss the matter. Kundra has described the rationale behind the ban on two-wheeler taxis, stating that the use of personal vehicles for commercial purposes is not allowed under Indian law. He added that such services pose safety concerns, as they lack the checks and balances that govern commercial vehicles. Kundra has also expressed concerns about passenger safety, particularly for women, as bike taxi drivers are not subject to the same level of scrutiny as commercial drivers.
Bike taxis have become increasingly popular in metro cities, especially for short distances. Their lower prices and easy manoeuvrability through traffic jams have contributed to their popularity. However, state governments remain sceptical about the safety aspect of such transport and the lack of oversight over bike taxi apps.
In Delhi, the transport department grants passenger service vehicle badges to commercial drivers after verification. Once verified, the vehicles receive yellow number plates. The lack of this oversight has made Delhi authorities wary of the emerging bike taxi service.
Delhi has joined other states and union territories that have either banned or cracked down on two-wheeler taxis. Earlier this year, the Maharashtra government refused to grant an aggregator license to Rapido. In 2020, the Karnataka government banned ride-hailing apps from offering auto services on their platforms, citing pricing issues and non-compliance with norms.