A proposal has been made to introduce bike taxis as contract carriages, with regard to section 2(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. However, the permission, which is expected to come soon, would be given by Regional Transport Authority (RTA) of North 24 Paraganas district.
To get the project running, West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) has contacted cab aggregator company Ola and another firm in the same domain, which are currently operating bike taxis in Gurgaon.
“With service roads, wide streets and a planned network of roads and auto-stands, the residents and visitors to New Town should have great use of the bike taxis once they hit the streets,” said Debashis Sen, Chairman of HIDCO, which is the planning and execution agency of all development projects in New Town.
The draft notification further says that the “area of the operation of these vehicles would be restricted to New Town only”. Moreover, these vehicles cannot access the Major Arterial Road (MAR), except the crossing.
“Bike taxis will most ply in the service roads and interiors to assist the bystanders. We do not have any plan to permit those in MAR,” Sen added.
The colour of the bike taxis would be white, while the words ‘Bike Taxi’ would be written in Blue. The guidelines have also been framed for GPS-enable bike taxis. More than one pillion rider will not be allowed on the vehicles and no minor would be allowed to ply them.
Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had instructed police to take stringent action against bikers plying without helmets. In case of bike taxis, the driver will have to provide helmet to the pillion rider before starting the vehicle. Pillion riders will not be allowed to carry any luggage on the bike taxis, except for minimal baggage or a briefcase.
The service providers, who must have at least 15 bikes, will need to develop an app for their customers. “We have been using about cab apps regularly, now it is turn for a bike app. Sounds very exciting,” said Atul Das, a New Town resident.