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India

Bike Taxi Group Writes to Delhi LG Seeking More Time to Make EV shift

Apna Bike Taxi Association, which claims to represent 1,000 bike taxi drivers in Delhi, has written to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Vijay Saxena over the new ‘Motor Vehicle Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme 2023, which is set to come into effect next week.

The association is seeking the LG to provide more time to implement the policy for two-wheeler drivers. The new policy says a two-wheeler taxi aggregator can operate in the city provided they deploy EVs only.

“The Aggregator shall be allowed to operate bike taxi (two-wheeler taxi) services, provided that any vehicle being on-boarded as part of the fleet by from the date of commencement of this scheme shall be Electric Vehicles only. In such cases the driver of a two-wheeler taxi would be required to have compliance as mandated for passenger service vehicle drivers in Central Motor Vehicles Act (CMVA), Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), & Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules (DMVR),” according to the policy.

Arendar Singh, president of the Apna Bike Taxi Association, told Entrackr that the move will impact more than 50,000 bike drivers in the city. He also pointed out that they are seeking more time (up to two years) to implement the policy i.e. start using electric vehicles.

Singh also added that there is no robust infrastructure relating to two-wheeler EVs in the city. Moreover, the two-wheeler EVs are expensive, and not reliable in terms of quality, he said.

“The said scheme requires an overnight transition to electric bikes for all peril bike taxi drivers without any suggestion how this transition would be financed or supported. This is completely impractical and invariably impact over fifty thousand bike taxi drivers in the city and put the livelihoods of their families at risk,” the association said in the letter, which Entrackr has reviewed.

In the letter, the group also pointed out the delivery sector has been given a transition period to deploy EVs. According to the policy, the target for adoption of EVs in the new fleet for two and three-wheelers (for transporting goods) is 10% within the first six months from the date of notification of the scheme. This extends up to four years for 100% deployment of EVs in the fleet.

“… we do not oppose a transition to electric vehicles. We are requesting to be treated at par with the delivery sector…,” the letter said.

Delhi’s new cab aggregator policy is set to come into effect next week as it received a go-ahead from the LG on late Friday. The policy aims to regulate transport service aggregators. It also extensively focuses on ensuring electric vehicles. For instance, the fleet consisting of old and new vehicles has to completely shift to electric by April 1, 2030.

The policy around bike taxis, however, has raised concerns. Earlier in June, The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) had warned against aggressive EV transition, saying it could lead to significant disruptions to business activity and the livelihood of gig workers.

“The target of 100% electrification of bike taxis operating in Delhi right from the outset also raises serious concerns as the lack of a moratorium for bike taxis could render numerous gig workers without work overnight,” it had said.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court in June revived the ban on bike taxi apps, including Uber, Rapido and Ola, in the country’s capital