Uber Pauses Two Wheeler Bike-Taxi Services In Bengaluru

After the Karnataka government cracked down on bike taxis associated with ride-hailing services, Uber Technologies, which continued to operate UberMoto service violating rules over the last two months, has finally pauses it down on Wednesday. Its competitor Ola had already withdrawn the OlaBike service in March, soon after the State transport department termed it illegal.
Uber India said, “Earlier this year we rolled out the pilot of uberMOTO in Bangalore – our first two-wheeler ride sharing service in India’s IT City. Today, we are pressing pause on the pilot while we share our learnings and work with the government to create modern regulations for app-based motorbike services.
Since its launch in March this year, the State transport department had seized closed to 100 two-wheelers operated by Uber. The department claimed that, since the two-wheeler are used for commercial purpose, the vehicles should have yellow boards, while the government did not have provisions to grant permission for the same.
Karnataka transport department joint commissioner L Narendra Holkar said, “The department is in consultation with the legal department and also the state government to find a solution for this. We will soon come out with an alternative. With the existing rules, two-wheeler ride-sharing service is illegal and we have been seizing vehicles and imposing fines accordingly.”
Sources in the transport department and also UberMoto drivers told that the company paid for the fines levied for violation of rules, while it also paid daily incentives to the drivers until the vehicles were released by the transport department. Uber had signed up around 3,000 two-wheelers for this service.
The UberMoto service was, however, seen as a employment opportunity for the two-wheeler drivers. When this reporter took UberMoto rides last week, drivers on the platform confirmed that Uber paid them Rs700 per day for a seven hour shift, that is from 8 am-11 am and 5 pm-9 pm, and also a weekly bonus of R2,000 upon completion of 40 rides per week. This is in addition to what the customer paid for the rides.
“I am a migrant from Tamil Nadu. When I shifted to the city, all I had was a two-wheeler and I could find ways to earn money with it. I am earning Rs15,000-18,000 per month under the UberMoto service, while I also do part-time work elsewhere during the time I am not associated with Uber,” said, a driver contracted with Uber who did not wish to be named.
Locked in a fierce battle for market share in India, both Ola and Uber launched bike taxi services in Bengaluru this March aiming to disrupt intra-city travel. Last year, due to lack of regulation and security concerns, the Mumbai RTO had ordered the shutting down of two-wheeler taxi service provider Hey Taxi within a week of its launch.
Incidentally, except Goa and Haryana, no other state in India allows commercial use of two-wheelers.According to the ministry of road transport, one in 10 Indians owns a two-wheeler (96 two-wheelers per 1,000 persons). Two-wheelers constitute 72% of the total 160-million vehicle population in India. “The rise of the sharing economy: India Landscape”, says globally the sharing economy is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 139.4% to reach $115 billion by 2016 from $3.5 billion in 2012.
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