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The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has recently issued an advisory that could potentially lead to the reinstatement of bike taxi services in metro cities such as Delhi and Maharashtra, bringing relief to users of popular ride-hailing platforms like Rapido, Ola and Uber.

The advisory focuses on the classification of motorcycles as contract carriages under section 2(7) of the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, 1988. This move comes after bike taxi services faced a ban in Delhi and Maharashtra due to non-compliance with motor vehicle regulations, particularly the usage of regular bikes for commercial purposes, which violated the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

In response to the ban, the Delhi government had issued warnings, emphasising the necessity of obtaining proper commercial licenses for operating bike taxis. Violators faced penalties of up to Rs. 10,000/- and even license suspension for a period of up to 3 years. However, despite facing obstacles in Delhi and Maharashtra and failing to gain traction in Karnataka, states like Goa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have allowed the operation of bike taxi services.

The advisory from MoRTH urges all states and union territories to accept and process applications for contract carriage permits for motorcycles in accordance with the provisions of the MV Act and its rules. If states like Delhi and Maharashtra heed MoRTH’s guidelines, it could potentially signal the return of bike taxi services, offering commuters a much-needed alternative transportation mode, especially in congested urban areas.

The revival of bike taxi services could also create job opportunities and provide flexibility to individuals seeking alternative sources of income. However, it’s essential for authorities to ensure that the operations adhere to safety regulations and licensing requirements to safeguard both riders and passengers.

Overall, while the potential lifting of the ban on bike taxi services presents opportunities for convenience and employment, it’s crucial for regulatory bodies to strike a balance between promoting innovation and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.