Days after a protest by Taxi and Auto union against Rapido bikes, the Maharashtra government has banned the use of non-transport vehicles for aggregation and ride-pooling (car-pooling), citing the safety and security of passengers.
What are not-transport vehicles?
Non-transport vehicles are ones with white number plates and are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes. The transport/commercial vehicles have yellow number plates.
At present, a few aggregators like Ola, and Uber provide app-based bike, auto and car taxi services in major cities of Maharashtra. Some of them like Rapido provide mobile application-based aggregator services using vehicles, especially two-wheelers, registered under the non-transport category.
How will it affect Ola, Uber and Rapido rides?
Now, as per this new resolution, app-based aggregators will not be able to allow vehicles including two-wheelers registered under the non-transport category i.e. with the white number plates.
Reasons behind this new decision
Road safety of the general public and passengers
As per a government resolution (GR) issued on January 19, non-transport vehicles including two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers are banned (for the ride pooling and aggregation) "in order to ensure road safety of the general public and passengers at large".
The GR said the use of non-transport vehicles as transport vehicles (commercial vehicles) is on the rise enormously, which "raises serious practical and security concerns of the passengers and "may cause serious threat to the road safety of the general public and passengers".
It affected business of vehicles operating on valid permits in state
The government also expressed concerns about plying of non-transport vehicles registered outside Maharashtra affecting the economic viability of the vehicles operating on valid permits in the state.
"The number of vehicles registered in the non-transport category is very large, therefore the non-transport vehicles registered outside the state of Maharashtra may also be used for vehicle aggregation and may affect the economic viability of the vehicles operating on valid permits in the State of Maharashtra," the GR reads.
Stating that if non-transport vehicles can be permitted to be used as transport vehicles, including for aggregation and ride pooling, the GR said it requires "detailed consideration regarding terms and conditions, framework and guidelines".
The state government has also constituted a committee to study the related issues and to give recommendations. Therefore, it prohibits the pooling of non-transport vehicles by aggregators to ensure the road safety of the general public and passengers, it said.
Rapido in Supreme Court
On January 13, the Bombay High Court pulled up bike-taxi aggregator Rapido for operating without procuring a licence from the Maharashtra government and directed it to suspend the services immediately.
The company has moved the Supreme Court against the HC order.
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