Mobile applications that offer two-wheeler taxi services are facing backlash from autorickshaw drivers who question the legality of the services.

On Monday, a group of nearly 50 autorickshaw drivers submitted a petition at the Regional Transport Office (RTO) calling for a ban on a mobile application that offers two-wheelers for taxi service. The petition claimed that the company running the application has over 200 vehicles mostly with own board (white-board) number plates, which was against the Motor Vehicle Rules.

B. Vijayavel, who submitted the petition on behalf of the drivers, told The Hindu that cities like Chennai and Madurai have banned the two-wheeler taxi service following protests by autorickshaw and taxi drivers and urged the RTO officials to ban it in the city.

P.K. Sukumaran, district general secretary, Coimbatore District Autorickshaw Workers Union, argued that two-wheelers cannot be used for “public service.” “Under what law are they operating? How did the RTO allow these two-wheelers? ” he asked.

A senior official from the RTO told The Hindu that as many as 40 two-wheelers offering taxi services were seized since January, adding that there are no provisions in the law to provide permit to two-wheelers offering taxi services.

The question of offering insurance coverage remains a contentious topic in the case of two-wheeler taxi services. While some taxi service apps assure their customers of insurance coverage, RTO officials said that the pillion rider (customer) cannot be eligible for any insurance claim.

K. Kathirmathiyon, Secretary, Coimbatore Consumer Cause (CCC), told The Hindu that it is possible to avail of insurance if documents such as registration certificate and licence are produced. However, he maintained that operation of private vehicles for public purpose is illegal.


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