In a highly populated country like India, shared mobility is one of the most sought options for the daily commute. The high demand for such shared options has given rise to several startups that offer cab pooling and rickshaw sharing options. Most of such initiatives have gained popularity within a short period. For e.g., Cabs in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi etc. became a success in no time owing to the increased number of working professionals in the cities. Following the popularity of cab services, startups introduced another convenient and affordable option called Bike Taxis to solve the problem of last-mile connectivity. However, many startups failed to turn the business, a success!
What holds back Bike Taxi Services?
Experts are of the opinion that the Indian market is good for bike taxis as people rely on public transport options like cabs, rickshaws and buses for their daily commute. However, the growth and success of such business startups can be unpredictable due to the situation in the country. Despite having immense potential for growth, a large number of bike taxi startups has to shut their operations before completing a year into market. Though the motorcycle taxis have demand among the public owing to the convenience and affordability, the startups are trying hard to succeed in the market. Some of the reason that holds back the two-wheeler taxis could be:
- Absence of strict legal regulations – The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has put forward bike-sharing taxi policy guidelines in 2016 to promote urban mobility. This was permitted as an affordable option for first and last-mile connectivity. However, this is not as clear as the rules and regulations for cab services across the country.
- Differing approaches from the States– Though the central government has proposed regulations for two-wheeler taxis, there are still confusions among the different states regarding the operation of bike taxis. Though the states of Rajasthan, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Goa have permitted motorcycles to be used as taxis, many states including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are yet to approve the service.
- Practical hurdles– Unclear approaches from states are not the only reason that stands as a hurdle for two-wheeler startups. Even in the states that permitted bike taxis as a mode of public transport, there exist several practical challenges to tackle. When you convert a private vehicle to commercial, you must convert your white number plate to yellow. This is not always easy and affordable for all. Many states still don’t have a policy regarding the same.
Lack of awareness can be another challenge that hinders the popularity of motorcycle taxis in some of the Indian states. For example, some parts of Andhra Pradesh consider motorcycle taxis as a means of ‘transport’. However, in other parts, people might have never seen such an option, and they may confuse this with scooter rentals. For instance, cabs in Hyderabad and scooter rentals in Hyderabad may be something that they are familiar with, but the term ‘bike taxis’ could be alien to them. Hence, a lack of awareness combined with the absence of strict policy and unclear approach by states could be the reason that holds back the startups from tasting success.