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Govt policy allowing e-bike taxi services soon: Karnataka

Karnataka’s transport department (KTD) has approved the operation of an electric bike (e-bike) taxi service, which will soon be available to commuters in the state. As per authorities, the government has agreed to enable people to register an e-bike as a taxi, with each individual having the choice of registering with an aggregator or operating independently.

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As declared by the authorities to a senior official from the Department of Transportation, Indian e-bike taxis would first operate in Bengaluru before being expanded to other cities throughout the state. Feeder services for the Metro and city bus services will be provided by e-bike taxis. On Wednesday, the prime minister is scheduled to give detailed instructions for the same. Moreover, the government is expected to permit e-bike taxi services only if each vehicle is installed with GPS and prominently displays the words “bike taxi.” Other requirements that e-bike taxi companies will be required to follow include insurance coverage for both the rider and the customer, as well as the wearing of helmets. The authorities suggested that a client would be permitted to utilize an e-bike taxi service for a maximum distance of 10 kilometers. For coverage of 0-5 km and 5-10 kilometers, different pricing structures will be offered.


As observed by the Associate Professor in Transportation Systems Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Supervision of these trips, enforcement of traffic and safety laws, and observation of how such journeys aid the government in achieving the final objective of functioning as feeder services must all be assured for such services to fulfill their purpose. Dr. Verma welcomed the government’s decision to allow only electric bikes for such services since it addressed emissions concerns, but he noted accident data in the city that shows two-wheelers are involved in roughly 45 percent of all traffic incidents. It has been also observed that Cutting corners, riding on pavements, and lateral and longitudinal movement on highways are all dangerous riding practices in Bengaluru. The procedures in place to ensure that GPS data is gathered and monitored, as well as that excursion, do not exceed 10 kilometers, are also critical. 


While asked if non-electric bike taxis would be permitted to operate in the city, the transportation official said it was doubtful because the central government was promoting only electric bike taxis to operate inside municipal borders. Companies/aggregators investing in e-bikes to provide taxi services by charging fares set by the government and according to all requirements stipulated by the Transport Department, however, would be authorized, based on the current official. The Transport Department then had also objected to the use of two-wheelers registered as personal vehicles (white number plates) for commercial purposes after which such services were rolled back.

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