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Delhi Govt Put the Brakes on Ola, Uber, and Rapido Bike Taxi Services

"When government takes away options, it is bound to make some people worse off, even with the intrinsically good intentions behind that government intervention."

Rapido is India’s first and fastest-growing Bike Taxi App. Based in Bangalore, and founded in 2015 by Aravind Sanka, Pavan Guntupalli, and SR Rishikesh. Rapido came up with an innovative and pioneering idea like Bike taxis which was a progressive step towards the future of mobility.

Ola and Uber in a very short span of time imitated this idea. In the year 2016, Ola began with Ola bikes and Uber came up with the facility of Uber moto. Bike taxis help to solve the last-mile connectivity problem. The fares are very cheap thus making it accessible to the masses. Bike taxi services also generate large-scale employment opportunities which are essential in the rapidly growing Indian economy.

The Delhi government has slammed the brakes on bike-taxi services of Ola, Uber, and Rapido. On Monday, 20th February 2023, the Delhi Transport Department issued a public notice to the companies to stop their bike taxi services in the capital effective immediately. It is a shocker for thousands of people who depend upon bike taxis to dodge traffic and some money.

It’s not the first time these bike taxis have been under the scanner. In January, the Maharashtra government refused to give licenses to Rapido’s motorbike taxis on the grounds that there were no legal guidelines related to their licensing, safety, and fare structure. Later, the Supreme court also denied Rapido’s plea for relief against the Maharashtra government’s order. Besides this, in July 2019, the Madras High Court had already banned Rapido from providing motorbike taxis service in Tamil Nadu until the state government introduces a legal framework related to their licensing and functioning.

Now, the question arises why did the Delhi government decide to ban bike taxi services? Will violating the rule invoke any reformatory action? The Delhi government said in its public notice that running bike taxis – wherein private bikes are utilized by passengers for hire – in Delhi without a proper commercial license would be considered a violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The 2019 Amendment to the Act reiterated that aggregators cannot operate without a valid license. Section 192 of the Act imposes a fine of up to Rs 5,000 on first offense . For a second or subsequent offense, the law-breaker may face imprisonment which may extend to one year with a fine up to Rs 10,000, besides confiscating of the vehicle. In addition, the driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of three months. The department also stated that the aggregators shall be fined up to Rs. 1 lakh under section 193(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 if they continue to violate the rules.

The government’s order has caused havoc within the companies and people in general. People prefer bike taxis as they are pocket-friendly and time-saving. Moreover, it provided a lot of employment opportunities to bike owners who wanted an extra source of income.

But there are 2 sides to a story, the other side of this story represents the problems of auto drivers and rickshaw pullers. People have a lot of options to pick from while commuting by transport on a daily basis, they can travel by cabs, autos, or rickshaws. The introduction of bike taxi services worsens the problem for local auto drivers and rickshaw pullers. Increased competition has lowered the income of these people. They are happy about this decision of the government as it will ease things for them and increase their income as more people will opt for local autos and rickshaws for shorter distances.

As of now, there is no official statement from Ola, Uber, or Rapido. Transport Minister Mr.Kailash Gahlot stated in his tweet that aggregator policy for two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers is in its final stage and will be implemented soon helping the companies to apply for permit of license under the new policy. Currently, there are no provisions for bike taxi service providers to apply for licenses for commercial use. Only four-wheeler cabs, auto-rickshaws, and e-rickshaws have permission to use their vehicle for commercial use but not bikes. There are certain guidelines and obligations for running cab services — first is that the vehicle should have a registration mark i.e. yellow number plates, it should have a PSV badge which is issued after police verification and the drivers are supposed to undergo behavioral sessions to ensure safety of the passengers and driver.

On the basis of these parameters, the government has banned bike taxi services in the national capital... Will this decision lead to closure of giants like Rapido or will the companies pivot at the right time? It will be interesting to see how the companies react to this decision of the Delhi government.


Jasmeet Kaur

Gautam Pruthi


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