Officials see bike taxis as solution for last-mile gap

Officials see bike taxis as solution for last-mile gap

A bike taxi service that was launched at the metro stations earlier this year. DH file photo

In a U-turn, the road transport authority has relaxed its stance on bike taxis, with officials seeing the two-wheeler service as a solution for first- and last-mile connectivity gaps in the city.

Last year, officials from the Regional Transport Office had seized bike taxis operating with the help of aggregators. Terming the taxis as illegal, the RTO had noted that though they offer affordable transport services, bike taxis expose passengers to danger.

Sources in the government said that following suggestions at a joint meeting of high-level officials, the Commissioner for Road Safety and Transport had written to the transport department, seeking approval for permitting bike taxis.

"Bike taxis have been in operation for more than 15 years in Goa. The mode has been providing services in four other states. In Bengaluru, we have received many complaints about the lack of first- and last-mile connectivity, and we think they are effective in bridging the gap between public transport and passenger demands," a senior official told DH.

The government took up the idea in view of a report on 'Taxi Policy Guidelines to Promote Urban Mobility' by a committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

"It is highly recommended that existing private bikes may be allowed for such transportation in order to facilitate utilisation of idle assets, and state governments may also consider an online option to allow private bikes to convert to taxis," the report said.

However, sources in the RTO said the government will not go that far. "We will regulate the number of bike taxis. We have to see whether new rules are to be made for issuing a passenger-vehicle permit to a two-wheeler. At the same time, whether the rider is qualified and responsible enough to take care of a passenger has to be evaluated since those riding pillion are vulnerable and exposed to danger," the official said.

Asked about the regulation of fares, another official in the government said all the stakeholders in the passenger transport sector will be consulted before a decision is taken on the proposal.

"We need to thrash out the basics first. There will be a lot of opposition to bike taxis by cab drivers as well as those concerned about passenger safety. We have to convince them first if bike taxis are to become reality," the official said.

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