Autorickshaw drivers in Coimbatore petition Collector, CoP against bike taxis

Autorickshaw drivers seeking a ban on bike taxis in the city on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

A joint union committee of autorickshaw drivers on Saturday petitioned the Collector and the City Police Commissioner against the operation of bike taxis in Coimbatore.

The committee, comprising over 10 unions including the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), claimed in the petition that bike taxis are not permitted in the State as two-wheelers cannot be used for commercial purposes.

“But, a private bike taxi aggregator continues to flout this rule. The agency has been employing many college students for this. Arguments have erupted between autorickshaw drivers and these youth recently, against operating bike taxis. To put an end to this, the district administration and the Police Department must immediately issue orders to completely stop the functioning of bike taxis,” said committee head R. Selvam.

In 2022, in a reply to an RTI query, the Transport Commissioner had stated that bike taxi permits are not issued in Tamil Nadu. Yet, it is to be noted that a division bench of the Madras High Court in August 1, 2019 stayed an earlier order dated July 18 of the same year of a single judge that banned the service. The court ordered that the operations can go on till the State government passes a legislation to regulate the service.

Police Commissioner V. Balakrishnan said, “Following the High Court order, until the government issues directives, the bike taxis cannot be stopped. Unless they are found to be defying the traffic rules such as maintaining speed limits, not wearing proper helmets etc., taking action against the service would be contempt of court. Further, we have received several representations from the bike taxi drivers that they were troubled by the autorickshaw drivers. We have requested the latter not to take the law into their hands and address the grievances only through the Police Department.”

Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati said talks were held with the regional transport officials regarding this long-pending demand. “A meeting will be convened with the RTOs and drivers to discuss further steps in this matter soon,” he added.

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