Pandemic impacted cab and auto drivers in the Bengaluru city have to worry about another reason that threatens to lower their income further in the coming days. Karnataka state government’s passing of ‘Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme 2021’ that allows any individual or organisations to register their e-bikes as taxis for a shorter duration has not been welcomed by the cab and auto drivers.
The cab and auto drivers held a protest rally in Bengaluru on Thursday (July 22) to voice their opinion on the same. Their demand to the government was to withdraw this scheme.
The city saw the participation of more than 200 associated members march to the traffic commissioner’s office and handed over a petition demanding the same, ET report said. The drivers will wait for a couple of days to get a response and if the decision is not favored the cab and auto driver unions will go for an indefinite strike.
N Shivkakumar who is the commissioner for transport and road safety told the national daily that the government will unlikely to rollback the scheme and further assured the drivers that a separate class of people will opt for e-bike taxis.
The scheme from the government came after several bike taxi companies rushed to the Karnataka HC alleging several police have stopped these bikes and harassed drivers in the past. Hearing this, the high court sought a clarification from the government.
Under the new policy bikes will have to mention the words “bike taxi” to receive the taxi license. The companies operating such bike taxis will also have to provide insurance coverage for the riders and the owner.
The scheme directs that e-bike taxis will be allowed to operate, not those running on petrol and diesel. Customers can travel up to 10 Km per trip. Ola and Rapido are two of the major players in the city offering bike taxis. Bike taxis typically cost less than cabs and autos and ideally help one to reach faster to the destination.
However, the cab drivers have had their worst during the pandemic. Ola and Uber which were both hit by the deadly pandemic said to have lost 30,000 cabs as the driver struggled with EMI payment as their income has failed.