Kasba: Camp for bike taxi owners to get commercial licence on Sept 30

Kolkata: The state Transport department will hold a camp at Kasba on September 30 for bike taxi owners to obtain commercial licence. This will be the second official camp for the mentioned operators after a camp held at Salt Lake on September 23.

Earlier, state Transport minister Snehasis Chakraborty had told the media about organising camps for the bike taxis wanting to opt for commercial licence. According to a source, the department had earlier initiated these camps for 150 bikes which had initially shown interest in opting for the commercial licence but only 25 of them turned up.

A substantial amount is charged for obtaining the commercial licence and according to an official, the bike taxi owners will have to bear the entire cost. This has created an apprehension as to how many bike taxi owners will show interest in the camps. According to the list submitted by the bike taxi operators, there are over 900 bike taxis plying in Kolkata and adjacent areas alone.

The department had earlier issued a notification allowing bike-taxis to operate in five districts instead of the existing three. According to the notification issued on March 2, the permit will be for “contract carriage”. The application for the same will be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the regions in which majority if the proposed route lies. The bike-taxis will be allowed in five adjacent and interconnected districts.

According to a senior transport official, while the introduction of new commercial and business activities is welcomed, the unauthorised and illegal use of non-transport two-wheelers as transport vehicles for commercial purposes cannot be allowed any longer. A meeting was held by the department secretary Saumitra Mohan with regards to the irregular operations and use of non-transport two-wheelers for commercial activities. Different stakeholders, including aggregators, corporate houses as well as agencies like Ola, Uber, Rapido, InDrive, Durgapur Cab Services, Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato and Swiggy attended the meeting.

The online platforms have been asked to submit the list of bikes used for the commercial purposes under their platforms. Some of the companies have agreed to provide the number of bikes operating. “It is necessary to have a database in order to implement the rule better but as of now we do not have a database on how many such bikes are being used to conduct business activities,” an official said.

During the meeting, an alternative for apps using bike taxis to deliver goods was proposed. It was mentioned that the department can issue a pass per bike for one year which will cost Rs 1000 per bike. The delivery companies did not agree with it. Hence, they requested the stakeholders to share their views on the same within September 30.

The state Transport department will soon come out with a detailed guideline for better regulation and safe operation of the two-wheelers used for commercial purposes.

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