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Karnataka bans electric bike taxi services, says it is 'illegal and unsafe for women'

Jaya Vishwakarma
New Update
Karnataka bans bike taxi services

The Karnataka government has withdrawn the 2021 Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme, citing concerns over safety and legal violations. The scheme, initially introduced to promote electric mobility and enhance urban connectivity, has been deemed "unsafe for women" and in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The move comes after observations that private app-based firms were operating non-transport two-wheelers as transport vehicles, leading to legal and safety issues.

Impact on women's safety and legal compliance


The state government highlighted the operation of electric bike taxis as a significant safety risk for women, alongside the scheme's contravention of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Reports of clashes between electric bike taxi riders and traditional auto rickshaw and "maxi cab" drivers have exacerbated concerns, with incidents affecting law and order and complicating tax collection efforts by the transport department.

Industry response and legal battles

Rapido, a key player in the bike taxi industry, responded to the government's announcement by clarifying that the ban does not affect its operations, as their services do not fall under the withdrawn scheme.

The startup had previously secured an interim order from the Karnataka High Court in 2021, allowing it to continue operations despite the legal ambiguity surrounding bike taxis in the state.

“The notification issued by the state government does not pertain to Rapido's bike taxi operations within the state of Karnataka and Rapido will continue to operate and serve both its customers and captains in Karnataka without any disruptions," a Rapido spokesperson said.

The future of electric mobility and urban transport

The withdrawal of the electric bike taxi scheme raises questions about the future of electric mobility and urban transport in Karnataka.

While the government's decision reflects immediate concerns over safety and legal compliance, it also signals a potential reassessment of how electric mobility initiatives can be integrated into the state's transportation ecosystem without compromising on safety and regulatory standards.