Bike-taxi controversy in Bangalore: opinions and counter-opinions | Bangalore News
(Left-Right) Pavan Guntupalli and G Narayanaswamy
Bringing bikes back into the utility vehicle category: Rapido
City-based bike taxi aggregator Rapido has been making headlines for the wrong reasons for the past few years. Pavan Guntupalli, co-founder, spoke to TOI about the transportation departments cracking down on their bikes. Excerpts:
How many bike taxi captains (drivers) and daily users does Bangalore have?
There are over 3 lakh captains and over 4 million customers in Bangalore. About 1 lakh people use our bikes daily for last mile connectivity. We aim to create 10 million jobs over the next two years across the country.
Karnataka has a policy in place for electric bicycle taxis. Why doesn’t Rapido ask for a permit?
Bike taxis have been considered to reduce private vehicles to combat the challenges of increasing carbon footprint. We explored the idea of electric vehicles. Our goal is to leverage the existing infrastructure without increasing the fleet.
The Department of Transportation says it is not taking action against the company because of a PIL, but the captains’ vehicles have been seized.
We have filed a written petition against these coercive methods used to prevent our captains from carrying out their duties. To act against them is to act against the company.
But using whiteboard vehicles as taxis is illegal. Motorists pay more MV taxes.
Rapido is an app-based business where every order is logged. We have submitted a request to the government to include bicycles as commercial vehicles, with the aim of enabling a level playing field for all vehicles under the MV Act.
The department demands a fine of ₹10,000-15,000 from the captains.
We assist captains and reimburse fines paid by them on behalf of Rapido, if applicable. Rapido denounces the illegal and coercive actions of certain entities.
What is your future course of action?
We also want to work together with government authorities in the future. The illegal actions taken by some parties compel us to pursue contempt to avoid such disturbances, and we sincerely hope that the problem will be solved soon.
Whiteboard vehicles cannot serve as taxis: Auto union
Autorickshaw drivers objected and attempted to seize bicycle taxis across town. YOU spoke to G Narayanaswamy, Chairman, Karnataka Chalakara Okkuta, who is spearheading the fight against bicycle taxis in the city. Excerpts:
Why do you oppose bicycle taxis?
It is illegal to use whiteboard vehicles as bicycle taxis. Motorists pay commercial vehicle tax, annual fitness certificate fees, insurance, etc. We are only allowed to drive cars after receiving the yellow badge. But bike taxis do not follow any of these rules. We oppose this because whiteboard bikes are used as taxis. Riders using a bicycle taxi will not be insured in the event of an accident as it is illegal.
Rapido has been operating bicycle taxis since 2015-2016. Why are you against it now?
Our income dropped significantly after Covid. Bicycle taxi drivers earn Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per day, but motorists do not even receive Rs 500. The government has not yet authorized whiteboard vehicles to act as taxis. If they allow whiteboard bike taxis they should let us use the whiteboard.
Many bicycle taxi captains come from poor families. Most motorists also come from poor families.
For the captains, it’s a part-time job, but it’s our only source of income. All our household expenses, car LPG, vehicle maintenance, insurance costs, etc. come from automobile revenues.
But you don’t have the right to seize the bike taxis or harass the captains.
We filed several complaints with the transport department and the traffic police. We protested against bicycle taxis in places like Shantinagar, HSR Layout and Yeshwantpur. We have never seized bicycle taxis, but are helping the department to act.
Will you oppose electric bicycle taxis?
We will oppose all bicycle taxis, including electric ones, as they will also affect motorists.