Only Electric Bike-Taxis to Be Permitted in Delhi Under Cab Aggregator Scheme

Mandatory panic buttons in taxis, integration with emergency number ‘112’, and phase-wise transition to EVs are some of the highlights of the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023 to regulate cab aggregators and delivery service providers in the national capital. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved the policy on Wednesday.

A draft of the scheme has been sent to Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena. It will then be put up for public feedback and comments by the transport department before being given the final shape, according to an official statement.

Kejriwal approved the draft of the scheme that lays the foundation for regulating cab aggregators and delivery service providers in Delhi.

“This scheme prioritises the safety of passengers and ensures timely grievance redressal, while also promoting the use of electric vehicles and reducing pollution levels in the city,” the chief minister said.

He explained that by transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) and promoting electric bike-taxis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will be able to reduce the pollution levels in Delhi and create new opportunities for employment and economic growth.

The Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023 will be applicable to any individual or entity that operates, on-boards or manages a fleet of motor vehicles through digital or electronic means or any other means to ferry passengers or connect a driver offering to deliver or pick up a product, courier, package or parcel with a seller, e-commerce entity or consignor.

The scheme aims to ensure passenger safety during trips and the service quality of cab aggregators, while also promoting the transition to EVs. It will make it mandatory for the aggregators to install a panic button in the vehicles and integration with ‘112’ (Delhi Police) for emergencies.

The scheme also includes a mechanism to ensure timely consumer grievance redressal by the service providers, enforcement of vehicle fitness, pollution control and validity of permits. It provides for driver remedial training in instances where a driver’s performance is poor.

“The scheme will also mark a historic first for the nation where a state government will be introducing a mandatory transition of commercial vehicles from conventional vehicles to electric vehicles. The scheme provides for phased mandates for fleet operators to transition their fleets from conventional vehicles to electric,” the statement said.

Its mandate will only apply to an incremental percentage of new on-boarded vehicles over a period of four years to avoid any knee-jerk reaction to existing livelihoods.

For example, five per cent of the new on-boarded cars need to be electric in the first six months of the scheme. The policy further mandates that after four years from its notification, all new commercial two-wheelers and three-wheelers will need to be EVs.

Similarly, five years after its notification, all new commercial four-wheelers need to be EVs. The aggregators and delivery service providers shall also be mandated to switch to electric fleets by April 1, 2030.

The scheme lays the foundation for a regulatory provision for bike taxis and rent-a-bike services.

Since Delhi has never allowed bike taxis to operate in the city, the scheme provides for such services to be regulated.

As a new business opportunity, the scheme ensures that all bike taxis and two-wheeler renting services in the city shall only be via electric two-wheelers. These provisions are in line with the Delhi EV Policy 2020, the statement added.

The scheme follows the “polluter pays” principle. This will make the per-vehicle licence fee for a conventional vehicle significantly higher than an electric vehicle.

For instance, there may be no licence fee for an electric taxi, but for a CNG taxi, it may be Rs. 650.

Secondly, all licence fees and penalties under the scheme shall be credited to the State EV Fund, which in turn supports all EV promotional activity.

Talking about the draft scheme, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said Delhi has achieved another milestone with its Motor Vehicle Aggregator scheme.

“This is happening for the first time in India when a state has given targets to the aggregator to electrify their fleets and regulate such service providers in the city, with the goal of ensuring passenger safety and reducing pollution with sustainable public transportation in the city.

“We have introduced a polluter pays principle, where onboarding of any electric vehicle will have zero licence fee. The scheme also lays the foundation for a regulatory provision for bike taxis (two-wheeler ride-hailing services) and rent-a-bike services,” he added. 

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