Print this articleReduce font sizeIncrease font sizeMembers of cab drivers’ association stage protest against Rapido bike taxi serviceBy Melvin MathewThe drivers demand Rapido services be stopped across KarnatakaThe city’s cab drivers’ association have called for a ban on bike-taxi service, Rapido in the state, taking objection to the use of white-board two-wheelers for commercial purposes.Cab drivers claim that while they need to operate under a slew of restrictions and mandates, it is sufficient for Rapido drivers to own a mobile phone and have the app installed. Taxi drivers are mandated to operate with the yellow board, incur taxes annually and use the same vehicle registered in the app. The opposition has now arisen with many drivers facing difficulty finding riders during the pandemic.“For us to secure our driver badge, we need to have a whiteboard DL for a year and need to have passed SSLC and PUC. Further, if we don’t own a display card, we are fined for it. Still, we are facing difficulty finding passengers,” said a cab driver. Another cab driver noted that they are also mandated to drive the same vehicle registered with the on-hire service, however there is no such rule for Rapido riders.President of Bharatha Transport Association Group, Jayanna said, “On top of plying illegally in the city using white-board, there is no security for passengers and they don’t get insurance in case of an accident. They also don’t give taxes to the government and yet they have contributed to huge losses for cab drivers across the state. We demand that Rapido services be stopped across the state.”“Cab drivers are at a terrible loss. Drivers plying first and foremost have to pay EMIs irrespective of earnings. Financial companies from whom they have secured the loan are seizing the cars without providing due notice or following the process.In addition, drivers had to face weekend curfew that has made it very difficult for us to work. We will be filing a case soon against Rapido to cease its operations in Karnataka,” added Jayanna.“Bike Taxi service, Rapido has no permission and they have been operating illegally running under the taxi aggregator app. We have been seizing bikes that violate traffic rule violations. However, they have filed a petition in the High Court, and until the next hearing, we cannot take any coercive steps,” said Narendra Holkar, Additional Commissioner of Transport (enforcement).
Rapido bike taxi riders don’t pay taxes to the government and yet they have contributed to huge losses for cab drivers across the state– Jayanna, Bharatha Transport Association GroupAuto drivers also nodded with the drivers’ association regarding the ban on Rapido services. “We are not earning enough to pay EMIs or house rents. The situation has been deplorable for the past 3 years. We are not able to ply at night due to restrictions. If services like Rapido are allowed to operate, it’s an injustice to us,” said Sampath, General Secretary of Adarsha Auto Union.Rapido co-founder Aravind Sanka said that operating and convincing regulators of the workings and benefits of bike taxis is a continuous process. “We are also in touch with the concerned department seeking their help in understanding the legal framework, and we’re hoping to hear back soon so we can continue to adhere to it. Furthermore, the company has received assurances from the high court that no coercive measures will be used against it until a policy is in place.” GALLERIES View more photosMost Popular