The Ahmedabad Regional Transport Office (RTO) is on a vehicle checking drive at various places and the most vulnerable group is bike taxi operators.
RTO has filed 61 cases for rule violation, penalising offenders Rs 2.53 lakh in the last 11 months. However, the RTO’s focus on two-wheeler taxis, despite instances of non-compliance by car taxis and aggregator agencies, has raised questions about the impartiality of the drive.
Subhash Bridge RTO teams collected Rs 99,500 in 16 cases of violations of the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines-2020 involving two-wheeler taxis of app-based taxis like Ola, Uber, and Rapido. Interestingly, no car taxis by the same apps were nabbed for violation.
The Subhash Bridge RTO office along with traffic police began the two-day drive on November 6. RTO Ashish Parmar, in charge of the Subhash Bridge RTO office, said all 16 motorists who were fined were penalised for using non-transport motorcycles (private passing with white number plates). “Three such drives were conducted in the last 11 months and 61 cases were fined and Rs 2.53 lakh collected as fines.”
Earlier Jaswantsinh Vaghela of the National Consumer Protection Agency had complained to the Transport Commissioner claiming outright robbing by the app-based taxi agencies. The complaint had said such agencies extorted passengers during peak hours, during late night and early morning commutes and at certain times during rainy or cold seasons.
“They raise prices arbitrarily as such taxis lack government-approved fare metres,” said Vaghela in his complaint. He said many such taxis also lacked the necessary panic buttons that were mandatory for the safety of women and children.
“Legal action should also be taken against the taxi drivers affiliated with the agency.” Raj Shirke, president of the Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Association, also pointed out the unequal enforcement of rules. “Car taxis also violate rules, but no action is taken against them. Legal action should also be taken against such aggregator agencies as well as car taxis and not just two-wheeler taxis.”
Defending the RTO’s approach, Parmar said they periodically checked and took action against taxis associated with aggregator agencies. “While car taxis mostly use transport vehicles (with yellow number plates), we also enforce the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines 2020 on offending car taxis,” he said.
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