The Karnataka Transport department on Thursday issued an order directing regional transport offices (RTOs) to form special investigation teams to crackdown on unauthorized bike taxis, including electric bike taxis.

An RTO official said that the order extends even to Rapido that does not have a license to operate white-board two-wheeler taxis, but is protected against any government action as per Karnataka High Court’s directions. “Unauthorized bike taxis if found operating will be seized as per law by the RTO officials from tomorrow (Friday) and accordingly legal action will be initiated against the operator,” said the RTO officials.

What the government order says

The government order accessed by The Indian Express stated, “The electronic bike taxi scheme 2021 has been withdrawn and it has already been informed to undertake vigorous activities in this regard and take action against the practice of such bike taxis. From July 5 until further orders Special Investigation Teams have been formed in the 10 Regional Transport Offices of Bengaluru to take legal action against unauthorized bike taxis including electric bike taxis.”

The Karnataka government had withdrawn the notification of E-bike Taxi Scheme 2021 through a government order on March 6. The order cited that the implementation of the e-bike taxi scheme was not “complementary” to the mobility structure, as stated in the report. of the committee constituted under the chairmanship of Managing Director of the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).

The crackdown against unauthorized bike taxis came after the Federation of Private Transport Operators Association representing several auto-rickshaw, cab and bus operators and headed by Nataraj Sharma met the transport commissioner on Thursday afternoon seeking ban on illegal bike taxis, implementation of one city-one fare, issuance of permits to school cabs among other demands.

Festive offer

Sharma, speaking to The Indian Express, said the transport department has assured the federation to issue school cab permits from Saturday or Monday to ensure that school cabs/vans are streamlined and legal to ensure safety of students. “The transport department has also assured the federation of implementing online special permits for above 12-seater vehicles and crackdown against Porter for compelling drivers to illegally advertise their banner on vehicles, expeditiously,” Sharma said.

A warning from bike taxi welfare association

Adi Narayana, President of Bike Taxi Welfare Association, Karnataka, warned that contempt proceedings will be initiated against anyone who attempts to “harass or threaten Uber/Rapido bike taxi drivers”.

“Some social media reports and posts have been showing that a letter has been issued by the office of transport commissioner to seize EV-bikes and unauthorized bike taxis. Also, a few auto-rickshaw unions, based on that letter, have issued statements that they would forcefully stop bike taxis from operating and seize vehicles in Bengaluru. Firstly, we want to clarify that the letter talks about EV bike taxis. Secondly, we want to clarify that the bike taxi operations are protected by the orders of the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka,” Narayana said.

He added, “All unions were made party to the said case and the High Court has clearly directed the state government to take action against any person who tries to harass or threaten Uber/Rapido/any bike taxis drivers. We strongly urge that if any such incidents are reported against our bike taxi union members and bike taxi brothers, we will file contempt cases against such violating individuals in personal capacity.”

“Post the said high court order, our union members have also met the Commissioner of Police Bengaluru on several occasions and he has assured that strictest action will be taken by police if any such incident is reported in violation of High Court orders,” Narayana said. .