Maharashtra govt denies Rapido to operate bike taxi services in Mumbai

Maharashtra Government has denied approval to Rapido for operating its bike taxi services in Mumbai. Maharashtra State Transport Commissioner Avinash Dhakne said that the transport department was not planning to approve any bike taxi services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maharashtra Government has denied approval to Rapido for operating its bike taxi services in Mumbai. Maharashtra State Transport Commissioner Avinash Dhakne said that the transport department was not planning to approve any bike taxi services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Rapido has announced the launch of its service in Mumbai on Friday, the company announced 2,000 driver-partners for short-distance trips through its app at Rs 6 per kilometre. The services are similar to that of Ola and Uber, the company said.

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Dhakne said he had denied the permission to Rapido to start operations. “The company approached me 15 days ago seeking permission to begin operating on a pilot basis in Andheri. I said I cannot grant permission and asked them to submit a proposal which will be evaluated by the State Transport Authority, the statutory body to do so,” he said.

Dhakne said the service launch could add or reduce the city traffic but because of COVID-19 people may not want to ride with strangers. “Any proposal for a bike taxi service in Mumbai needs to be evaluated. There is the question of whether so many additional two-wheelers on the road will reduce traffic congestion or add to it. Also, it is not feasible at the moment as many commuters may not want to ride with strangers,” he said.

However, the union’s general secretary DM Gosavi questioned that “Do such companies have permission from the state transport department? The Maharashtra government cannot act as a mute spectator. They must take action. Auto and cab drivers in Mumbai are already passing through a bad phase due to the lockdown and such silence of the government will not be taken lightly by the unions.”