The applications of BluSmart and Bounce have been cleared and will soon be granted licences. The application of a third company is in the final stage
State transport department expects more companies to compete in the electric bike taxi market in the near future
In July last year, the Karnataka government announced the Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme 2021
The Karnataka State Transport Authority will reportedly soon grant licences to electric mobility firms BluSmart and Bounce to offer electric bike taxis in Bengaluru.
“We have cleared the applications of two companies BluSmart and Bounce. The licences will be issued soon. The licensing of a third company is in the final stage,” state transport commissioner SN Siddaramappa told Deccan Herald.
This comes more than a year after the state government announced the Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme 2021 in July last year, which allowed electric bike taxis to run on the roads.
According to the policy, ebike taxis will be allowed to carry a maximum of one pillion rider and can operate for a maximum distance of 10 km. As per the policy, the department will fix flat fares for 5 km and 10 km ranges.
Officials also noted that the maximum fare would be capped at INR 50 and would be subject to period revision.
Another government official said that the authorities expect issues to crop up as the much-awaited bike taxi regime comes into force. The issues will be assessed and necessary measures taken accordingly, the official added.
The official also said that the department expects more companies to jump into the fray and compete in the bike taxi market in the near future.
In a veiled jab at bike taxi aggregators, an official also said that some petrol-run bike taxis are illegally operating in the state.
“At present some companies are operating the petrol-run bikes as taxis illegally. We are moving the High Court against these unauthorised activities where both the passengers and riders’ safety is at stake. We hope to streamline the services within the next few months,” the official added.
Interestingly, the comment is in line with the state government’s stance which is currently at odds with cab aggregators such as Rapido, Ola and Uber. In October, the state transport department banned the three players from offering auto rickshaws for charging exorbitant fares from customers.
The EV Push
The move to allow ebike taxis has been nearly three years in the making. The announcement last year was met with protests from cab and auto drivers who then claimed that the ebike service would potentially lower their income further.
The state government formulated its electric vehicles (EV) policy in 2017 to generate an investment opportunity of INR 31,000 Cr and to also create jobs for more than 55,000 people.
The announcement is likely to give a major boost to ebike services in the state. A report cited bikes as an ideal first mile-last mile solution, especially during peak hours in metro cities. Short distances also address concerns about range.
The project is likely to give heft to the Centre and state government’s ambitious EV plans. The move could help create new avenues of growth and job creation and give a major push to the EV switch.
A report pegged the overall Indian EV market at $220 Mn in 2020, which is projected to surge to $152 Bn by 2030.