Ola has withdrawn the option to book bike taxis through its app.
The company has quietly withdrawn the bike taxi icon from the app and the service is no more available.
Ola & Uber launched bike taxi services last week on the same day. However, within a day, Ola and Uber faced law infringement notice from the Karnataka State Transport Department for violating the Motor Vehicles Act and continuing to operate without requisite permission.
After the launch, in a day, the Karnataka government had seized around 62 UberMOTO (two-wheeler taxis) for violating the Motor Vehicles Act.
“These bike taxis are operating on white board. We’ve asked these aggregators to approach the Road Transport Authority (RTA) and procure the right permissions to operate. So far we have seized close to 80 vehicles, all of which are from Uber,” Karnataka transport commissioner Ramegowda said.
India’s Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t have a provision for two wheelers to be used as taxis.
The government has said that it could look at allowing two wheelers as taxis on a case-by-case basis but insisted that such service providers apply for permits. In addition, it said insurance firms will not consider claims made for such bikes if they are involved in accidents.
Experts argue that by banning bike taxis, the Karnataka government is missing an opportunity to create employment, reduce congestion on roads, and offer commuters a truly affordable means of getting about. Moreover, while there is the issue of lack of permits, they should work towards a speedy change in the law, they said.
“Instead of helping these people (aggregators) operate by making it easy for them to get the permissions and help this sector to boom, the government is doing exactly the opposite. Allowing bike taxis will create employment as not only guys that buy cars can take part in this movement,” said Debabrat Mishra, director of Hay Group.
Uber’s Bike taxi services are still active, and bike taxis were available for booking at the time of writing.
Some of the funded startups operating in the state include Bikxie, Baxi, M-Taxi, Now Bike Taxis, and Hey Bob.