Source: Business Standard, July 31, 2017
New Delhi: The government is planning to facilitate the rollout of bike taxis on a bigger scale and is preparing to introduce an app that will also include the new and economical way of commuting, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is confident that bike taxis will offer solutions not only for wading through severe traffic congestions in metropolises but can provide affordable transportation to people in far-flung rural areas.
Bike taxis have been launched at a few places in the country, mostly initiated by private players.
“We are planning to facilitate launch of bikes as taxis.
We are going to introduce a cab aggregator platform where commuters could choose any mode of transportation that also includes a bike taxi,” Gadkari said.
He said a presentation for it has already been made by experts and policy planners were looking into the details and contours of it.
“Lack of employment is a major problem for this country. Our government’s priority is to provide jobs. Today, India faces shortage of 22 lakh drivers,” Gadkari said and added “bikes as taxis” can not only provide affordable rides to people but can generate employment for lakhs of youths.
“We are going to create an economy which is going to provide employment,” he said and added that as many as 2,000 driver training institutes are on the anvil and local youths, after adequate training, would be encouraged to embrace bike taxi driving as profession.
In rural areas, poor people face problems commuting, he said and added, “The idea is that the nearest bike can be booked through aggregator. There will be competition for offering good services.”
Elaborating, he said, suppose one has to travel short distances alone, one can easily book a bike taxi through app-based platform to be launched shortly by the government.
“This platform will not only be restricted to aggregators like Ola and Uber. It will be for all. Government will be a facilitator,” he said.
Asked about lack of clarity on commercial bike taxi regulations, the minister said, “We are studying all aspects.” Besides, he added that there would be a system to track the movement of these taxis through GPS.
The minister last week had made it clear that driverless cars will not be allowed in India as it will lead to joblessness.
He has said that instead, the government will focus on training drivers as adequate driving skills can provide employment to about 50 lakh people.
He has also said that plans were afoot to transform public transportation in the country and replace 1.8 lakh buses across the states with luxury buses.
“Talks are on with World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help India to replicate the London Transport Authority Model where all the public transportation buses would be replaced by luxury buses and a common man can travel in them by paying about 40 per cent less price as compared to current fares,” Gadkari has said.