Ola Seeks License To Launch E-Bike Taxi Service In Karnataka

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Under Karnataka’s Electric Bike Taxi Scheme 2021, EV two-wheelers can be operated as bike taxis. However, they must be registered as motorcycles in the transport category and function as public service vehicles. This past Saturday, Ola’s co-founder, Bhavish Aggarwal, revealed plans to relaunch Ola Bike, their two-wheeler taxi service, in Bengaluru.

On Tuesday, ANI Technologies applied to the Karnataka transport department for a permit to launch an electric vehicle (EV) bike taxi service in Bengaluru and other cities. Karnataka’s Electric Bike Taxi Scheme, 2021 permits EV two-wheelers to run as bike taxis. However, these EVs must be registered under the transport category as motorcycles and used for public transport.

On Saturday, Ola’s co-founder, Bhavish Aggarwal, revealed the comeback of Ola Bike, their two-wheeler taxi offering, in Bengaluru. This version will feature their electric S1 scooters. He quoted competitive rates on a social platform, highlighting the affordability and environmental benefits. He also indicated plans for expansion into smaller towns in Karnataka.

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Council To Be Set Up By The Government

The city of Bengaluru has seen tension between bike taxi operators and auto-rickshaw drivers, leading to confrontations and demands for bike taxi bans. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy assured actions against unauthorized bike taxis in Bengaluru.

On a related note, the Transport Minister disclosed that the State Government plans to appoint a special counsel for a case involving the two-wheeler taxi service, Rapido, in the Karnataka High Court. Rapido has been serving Bengaluru since 2016 with app-based bike taxis, even without EVs, due to a lack of clear government regulations. The minister mentioned the government’s intention to resolve the issues raised by auto-rickshaw drivers regarding Rapido’s operations.

Bike taxis have received approval in some states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Goa, with Goa having them for many years. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court recently weighed in on bike taxis operated by Uber and Rapido in Delhi. A meeting between Karnataka’s transport and labour officials is scheduled for Wednesday to discuss insurance for auto drivers. The minister also shared plans for a government-run ride-hailing app, similar to Uber and Ola, inspired by Kerala and Goa.

Lastly, the transport department is collaborating with the e-Governance department to create a mobile app with features ensuring passenger safety and security.

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