Unlicensed ridesharing services cause havoc to city passengers17 January 2021
MANY drivers who registered their vehicles with different ridesharing companies in the country are violating the existing guidelines and policies in the absence of monitoring. Many of them are now also offering offline services illegally to earn money while in some cases the incidents of hijacking and even murder have marred the otherwise thriving sector. There are also allegations that drivers are charging extra during peak hours violating the existing guidelines.
The ridesharing service providing companies are yet to develop any monitoring system to prevent the growing number of offline rides. Against this backdrop, recently Bangladesh Road Transport Authority asked the ridesharing and taxicab companies to strengthen their monitoring system to check these irregularities. Introduced in 2016, the app-based ridesharing services, particularly in Dhaka and other metropolitan cities, have gained popularity and become a full time earning source for many people.
Currently, 12 ridesharing companies are registered with the BRTA while 11 more companies have already applied for registration. Under the 12 registered companies around 21,400 vehicles, of which around 80 per cent are motorcycles, have mandatory enlistment certificates while a huge number of vehicles registered under these companies are yet to get that certificate. A huge number of motorcyclists can be found daily at different road crossings in the capital offering offline services to passengers. Soon after the introduction of the service some of the drivers started to take passengers without using the apps to avoid paying commissions to the companies. Authorities said it is not possible to detect the offline services without getting complaints from passengers.
The BRTA has already issued instruction to check vehicles under the ridesharing services whether the drivers were using the apps and to take legal actions in case of any violations. The BRTA should also instruct the companies to reduce commissions thus the riders will follow the instructions. Commuters should also be aware of the danger of unregistered ride sharing uses.