Ola’s Electric Bike Taxi Comeback
Ola, the app-based cab service provider, has announced its plans to reintroduce bike taxis in Bengaluru. However, this time, they are making a green shift by launching electric bike taxis. Soon, Ola’s S1 electric scooters will hit the streets of the city, offering bike taxi services.
This marks the first instance of an Indian ride-sharing platform operating electric bike taxis. The pricing for these bike taxis has been set at Rs 25 for 5 kilometers and Rs 50 for a 10-kilometer ride.
Ola’s CEO Announces the Move
Bhavish Aggarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Ola, shared the news on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “Restarting Ola Bike in Blr today. This time, all electric and our own S1 scooters.” He also emphasized that this eco-friendly option is not only cost-effective but also comfortable and beneficial for the environment. Ola has ambitious plans to expand this service across India in the coming months.
Government’s Electric Bike Taxi Policy
The state of Karnataka had introduced an electric bike taxi policy in July 2021 with the aim of enhancing last-mile connectivity for commuters in Bengaluru. This move aligns with efforts to promote sustainable and eco-friendly transportation solutions.
Challenges and Controversy
Despite the positive environmental impact, bike taxis have faced opposition from cab and auto unions in the city. They argue that bike taxis are unsafe for women, and they also raise concerns about the legality of using vehicles with white board registration plates for commercial purposes.
These demands and concerns were brought to the forefront during the Bengaluru Bandh, which took place on September 11. In response, the Karnataka government has pledged to examine the legal aspects and consider the possibility of banning bike taxis in the city. The matter remains a subject of debate and discussion between various stakeholders in the transportation sector.