Bike taxi drivers in Coimbatore allege threats from autorickshaw drivers


With the bike taxis gaining popularity despite lack of adequate regulations, its drivers allege threats from autorickshaw drivers in parts of city.

A bike taxi driver working for Rapido told The Hindu that bike taxi drivers do not park their vehicles in front of autorickshaws at Coimbatore Railway Station. “Once autorickshaw drivers see us receiving cash from customers, they recognise us,” he said when asked how they were being identified as bike taxi drivers without them wearing any uniforms. The autorickshaw drivers then allegedly threaten them not to drive bike taxis.

Another Rapido driver said that he had heard from his fellow drivers about incidents of autorickshaw drivers allegedly threatening, but added that he has not faced any such incidents himself.

The introduction of bike taxis has remained contentious since August 1, 2019, when a Division Bench of the Madras High Court allowed bike taxis in the State by staying the operation of a previous order passed by the court that restrained Roppen Transportation Services from operating Rapido. Various associations and unions representing autorickshaw drivers have since petitioned the district administration and transport department officials, claiming that bike taxis would be detrimental to the livelihood of autorickshaw drivers.

A transport official said that the State government has not formed regulations pertaining to bike taxis despite five months after the Madras High Court verdict. “The government is preparing the regulations. It has not been finalised yet,” the official noted.

J.M. Ismail, district vice-president of an autorickshaw drivers union affiliated with the AIADMK, denied these allegations, adding that some of the autorickshaw drivers have “questioned” bike taxi drivers in some places. “They ask questions like ‘Why are you picking up customers?’ and ‘Which RTO gave you the permission?’,” Mr. Ismail said. He alleged that the claims made by the bike taxi drivers were exaggerated and intended to show autorickshaw drivers in a poor light.

A Rapido official said that the drivers have complained of such incidents, particularly near Gandhipuram Central Bus Terminus and Coimbatore Railway Station, where autorickshaws are present in large numbers. However, the official noted that such incidents are sporadic. “In such cases, we have asked our drivers to contact the nearest police station,” the official said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:56:49 AM |

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