On 20th Feb’23, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said that a new aggregator policy for two, three and four-wheelers is in its final stages and will be rolled out soon. Next day, officials of Delhi Government clarified about the new aggregator policy being finalised by the them which proposes to allow only electric two-wheelers to ply as bike taxis.
A senior official said, “The aggregator policy, which is being finalised, plans to bring in norms to regularise these vehicles. The policy will make it mandatory for aggregators to on-board electric two-wheelers and encourage sustainable transportation, which is our focus.”
Prior to this, a Delhi Govt official notification had declared the use of bike taxi as illegal in the state through a notification published in national dailies.
As the Delhi government contemplates a regulatory framework that will likely allow only electric vehicles (EV) to function as bike taxis, ride-hailing giant Uber said the time is right for deeper industry dialogue. Uber said that steep and infeasible EV mandates risk finishing off the sector and there is a need to help shared mobility drivers make a fair and equitable transition.
“The impact of such a decision on the livelihoods and mobility needs of millions of Delhiites is clear. Transition, after all, is possible only if the businesses are still running,” said Shiva Shailendran, Director, Uber, in a company blog post on Friday. “Sustainability is a shared goal and no one can get there on their own. While we look for bold, ambitious ways to reach the zero emissions target, we need to find every way possible to help shared mobility drivers make a fair and equitable transition.”
Uber asked the Delhi government to create a level-playing field for two-wheeler mobility rides for commuters. The company said that different electrification mandates for ride sharing and delivery sectors, not only leads to inequitable sharing of responsibility but “seriously disadvantages the entire industry”.
The question, which some of the industry professionals mentioned when this issue was raised with them-
- Could we not have proposed this 3-4 years ago, giving bike-taxi industry time for transition?
- Was there any debate in public forum over the last few years where, the need for such dramatic step was felt?
- Where many of the bike taxis are owned by individuals, who will bear the burnt for the poor who just managed to buy/hire/loan a bike to earn a living out of it?