Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Karuna Mishra
On 10 May, the Delhi government approved the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme 2023, almost three months after imposing a ban on the operations of bike taxis on Delhi's roads. The draft scheme proposes switching from conventional petrol bikes to electric ones.
This has given hope to all the bike taxi riders, like me, to ply again on the road of Delhi. While looking at pollution levels, it's good to move from conventional fuel to clean fuel, it's also important to make arrangements to make the transformation simpler.
Since the government has been pushing electric vehicles for some time, I moved on to electric scooter some time ago. I bought OLA S1 Pro for around Rs 1.5 lakh. But it had many challenges. Our daily run is around 150-200 km, but the bike didn't allow that much range.
"My electric scooter used to give a range of 80-90 km only. And since there weren't enough charging points, charging the vehicle was a problem. These charging points often need to be fixed or are occupied, and we have to wait there. Due to these challenges, I switched back to a petrol bike. I sold that EV bike at a loss and am still paying its EMIs."Nadeem Ali, bike taxi rider
As the draft plan indicates, the government plans to completely switch to electric vehicles for passengers and goods carriers in the next four years, I feel it's too quick a move to be implemented as several of us won't be able to buy EVs, since many of us would still be paying our EMIs.
'Preparation Is Needed Before Implementation'
If the government is moving towards EVs, it should ensure that these vehicles have improved the distance range. Companies claim a range of 100 km, but bikes don't run that much. It should give at least a range of 150 km on genuine road conditions so that we can work.
The charging speed also needs to be improved. It takes around 4-5 hours to charge an electric scooter. The government should also work on making more charging stations, and maintaining them properly so that we can charge quickly and earn for ourselves.
'Present Government Subsidies Not Enough'
EV bikes are costly, and the subsidies provided by the government are too low because they cost almost double that of conventional bikes.
Conventional bikes cost Rs 80,000-90,000 that we use as bike taxis, and EV bikes of 100 km range cost us around Rs 1.5-1.6 lakh. The subsidy provided to us is not enough, and we should be given an interest-free loan to pay off our debts.
While the draft plan has been forwarded to the lieutenant governor of Delhi for further consideration, following the crucial step, the Transport Department will thoroughly scrutinise the draft. They even plan to contact the public for their feedback and suggestions before reaching its final version. We have formed a Rider Help group of bike taxi riders to address these issues with the government.
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