RTO's Stringent Action on Two-Wheeler Taxis Raises Concerns of Bias

In the last 11 months, the regional transport office (RTO) has registered 61 cases of rule violations, resulting in a fine of Rs 2.53 lakh. However, despite incidents of non-compliance by car taxis and aggregator agencies, the RTOs' exclusive focus is on two-wheeler taxis, raising concerns about the fairness of their enforcement efforts.

The Subhash Bridge RTO office in collaboration with the traffic police conducted a two-day drive on November 6 to address the violations. During this operation, 16 cases of rule violations involving two-wheeler taxis from app-based services like Ola, Uber and Rapido were identified, resulting in a total fine of Rs 99,500. Interestingly, none of the car taxis affiliated with similar apps were penalized for the violation.

RTO Ashish Parmar, in-charge of Subhash Bridge office, said 16 motorists were fined for using non-transport motorcycles (identified by crossing private vehicles with white number plates). He also informed that similar drives were conducted in the last 11 months, which resulted in imposition of fine in 61 cases and a total fine of Rs 2.53 lakh was collected.

This focus on two-wheeler taxis by the RTO has raised questions on fairness, as some individuals and organizations have pointed out that car taxis also violate rules and regulations. Jaswantsinh Vaghela of the National Consumer Protection Agency had earlier filed a complaint with the Transport Commissioner, alleging extortion by app-based taxi agencies, especially during peak hours, late night and early morning travel and bad weather. The complaint cites the lack of government-approved fare meters and absence of mandatory panic buttons in many of these taxis, which are crucial for the safety of passengers.

Auto Rickshaw Drivers Association president Raj Shirke also highlighted uneven enforcement of the rules and demanded legal action against all rule violators, including aggregator agencies and car taxis.

In response, RTO Ashish Parmar defended his approach, saying that they check taxis linked to aggregator agencies from time to time and take action against them. He said car taxis, which mainly use transport vehicles with yellow number plates, are subject to enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines 2020 for rule violations.

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