Supreme Court declined Rapido for Maharashtra operating license

After the state forbade the use of non-transportation vehicles for aggregation and ride-pooling (carpooling), citing the safety and security of passengers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday denied relief to Bengaluru-based bike-taxi aggregator Rapido.

Rapido has been requested by the SC to file a High Court petition regarding the Maharashtra government’s ban on motorcycle taxi companies.

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The Bombay High Court censured Rapido for operating without obtaining a licence from the Maharashtra government on January 13 and ordered it to immediately halt the services. The business has appealed the HC ruling to the Supreme Court.

A government resolution (GR) issued on January 19 forbids the use of non-transport vehicles, including two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers for ride-sharing and aggregation “in order to protect road safety of the general public and passengers at large.”

In Maharashtra’s major cities, a few aggregators currently offer app-based bike, auto, and car taxi services. Some of them use cars, notably two-wheelers, registered under the non-transport category to deliver mobile application-based aggregator services. Vehicles with white number plates that are not intended for transportation are prohibited from being used for business.

According to the GR, there is a significant increase in the usage of commercial vehicles, which poses serious practical and security concerns for passengers and “may pose a serious threat to the general public’s and passengers’ road safety.” The administration has expressed worries about how the use of non-transport cars registered outside of Maharashtra would impair the state’s legal and economically viable use of vehicles. The GR states that because of the large number of vehicles registered in the non-transport category, non-transport vehicles registered outside of Maharashtra may also be used for vehicle aggregation and may affect the financial viability of the vehicles operating under valid permits in the State of Maharashtra.

A Rapido spokeswoman referred to the state government’s notification from Thursday (January 19), stating that this could have a negative impact on the opportunities and livelihoods of more than 200,000 bike captains.

In addition, the company asserted that the “arbitrary decision” will leave millions of citizens without access to a safe and effective form of local transportation, leaving them at the mercy of subpar transportation infrastructure and a dearth of urban infrastructure that doesn’t offer affordable last-mile connectivity.

Referring to the state government’s notification of Thursday (January 19), A Rapido representative stated this might negatively affect the opportunities and livelihoods of over 200,000 bike captains Furthermore, the business argued that the “arbitrary decision” would leave millions of people without access to a safe, effective, and affordable form of local transportation, leaving them at the mercy of subpar transportation options and a lack of urban infrastructure that doesn’t offer affordable last-mile connectivity.

The 7-year-old Rapido provided figures, stating that there are currently over 87,000 rides available in Mumbai and Pune from over 200,000 bike captains and 120,000 auto-rickshaw captains in Maharashtra, serving over 22,00,000 passengers daily.