Even as more startups and the established players are trying to jump into the app-based two-wheeler sharing/renting business, there are concerns raised over the lack of proper laws to regulate these operations.
Possibly, no one doubts the usefulness of these services in order to cover the first and last miles for those using public transport. Not every bus or suburban train can cover the complete city. People prefer not to rely on auto rickshaws, and cabs may not be available to reach all points. Picking up a scooter to finish an errand and leaving it behind is of great help.
The concerns being raised relate to the difficulty caused due to increase in the number of vehicles on the road. Particularly, in a city like Bengaluru which is already overflowing with traffic, it’s a major issue. And the more worrying aspect is what about the parking spaces for these two-wheelers. Where the hail-a-ride cabs have drivers, these scooters will be used by multiple riders and they can leave it anywhere in the city. It could become a nightmare for the operators as well as traffic administrators.
There are no existing laws or rules relevant to this business. ‘Rent a Motorcycle Scheme, 1997’ is the only one that comes anywhere close to it. But experts feel it does not address the type and magnitude of the operations now bring rolled out. Consider this: Vogo and Bounce are two players launching the rent-a-scooter app. They may put up to 100,000 vehicles on the road between them. Their problem is the more the vehicles out there, more their chances of being hired.
It suits the government and the traffic regulators if more people leave their personal vehicles at home and use public transport like the Metro. The scooter sharing service operators are good at supplementing the public transport services. In fact, the Metro operators have allotted space in the stations to these scooter-sharing companies to park their scooters to facilitate the Metro commuters.
It is now for the city municipal corporation to create parking spaces, charge a nominal rent and help the startups run their operations smoothly. New laws will also have to be created so that they are fair to all stakeholders.