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Why I will Not Ride in a Bike Taxi Anymore!

06 Feb '24
6 min read


The weekend is the time when we all make plans with family and friends. Similarly, I too had plans to visit my parents last Saturday, for lunch. I did not have my car that day and had decided that I would take an auto/cab from our home to my parent’s place. At 2:30 pm, as I was leaving our home, I tried to find an auto/cab on Uber, Rapido, and Namma Yatri. They all showed a higher wait time for an auto/cab. I noticed on Rapido that there was a Bike taxi available within 1 minute, which meant that the rider was around the corner of our Apartment. Having never tried a Bike Taxi, I was apprehensive initially to try it. But then I realized I was already running late for lunch, and my mom would be waiting for me. Considering it was a short ride of less than 15 minutes, I decided to give the Bike taxi a try. Heck, why not? A lot of people use it every day; it is at least 25% cheaper than an auto, and I could reach my destination faster. So, I booked the Bike taxi on Rapido. True to the time indicated on the app, my Rapido captain/rider arrived within a minute of booking. The rider arrived on an old Hero Splendor bike. The rider, or Rapido Captain, was wearing a proper full helmet but was carrying a half helmet for me (passenger). It was not meant to protect me/my head in case of an accident; rather, it was just to comply with the law in Bangalore that pillion riders were also supposed to wear helmets. I felt hesitant getting on the Bike without a proper helmet, but again, since it was a short ride and I was already late, I just hopped on. As we started our ride, I began observing the bike, the rider, and the ride itself. It was an old poorly maintained Bike. I noticed that the bike did not have any rearview/side mirrors. I was wondering if these Cab aggregators (Uber, Ola, Rapido, etc.) even check if the Vehicles are in proper condition and are meeting emission standards before approving the riders/drivers. In the name of rapid growth, rules and regulations take a back seat. 

(Fact: Side Mirrors & indicators are mandatory in two-wheelers and you can be fined Rs 500 each for riding a two-wheeler either without rear-view mirrors or indicators, as per relevant sections under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019). 

Anyway getting back to the actual story of why I will not ride in Bike taxis anymore. As we started our ride, I was afraid that the rider might ride rashly; on the contrary, the rider was riding quite slowly. It dawned on me later that he was riding slowly not because of mine and his safety, but because the brakes were worn out and was making a screeching noise whenever he braked. We encountered our first traffic lights within a few minutes of the ride. It was a single-lane road that accommodated traffic from both sides. Only near the signal (last 250-300ft), the road was slightly wide and had a lane separator. As soon as the lights turned green, some of the vehicles in our lane started going on the opposite lane in their quest to cross the signal in one go even though vehicles were coming from opposite directions in that lane. Our rider followed suit, took the opposite lane, and crossed the traffic lights. I had seen several delivery boys do this, never thought a bike taxi rider would do this and put his passenger at risk. 

Three times during the ride, he came way too close to other vehicles and left me gripping the rear handlebar in fear. The first time it was a mid-sized goods truck, the second time it was a Car, and the third time it was a Swiggy delivery person on his Bike. I was tempted to end the ride midway fearing for my safety, but again considering it was my first-ever ride on a Bike Taxi, I wanted to complete the ride and see what all it entails. During this ride, I realized I needed to write an article about my bike taxi experience. 

As we reached my destination, I was thankful that the ride finally ended, and I was safe. I paid the bike rider the fare and also included a small tip for his service and thanked him for getting me to my destination.

As I got off the bike, I wondered how many trips in a day this man takes, and how many kilometers he rides on this poorly maintained bike for a living. How much does he earn in a day? What happens if he meets with an accident during his trips? Do these cab/bike aggregators provide sufficient insurance? Who will take care of him in case he meets with an accident? Would his income justify the back-breaking rides that he has to take on these potholed-filled roads? How many people ride these Bike taxis every day for a living? How many people commute using the Bike taxis every day? What about all the Swiggy, Zomato, Zepto, Dunzo, etc., delivery personnel who too do this every day? In this madness of 10-15 minute deliveries, how safely can they possibly ride? If they had enough time, would they jump traffic lights or go the wrong way? If they could get a different but safer job for the same pay, would they take it? 

I also remembered how even Mr. Amitabh Bachchan had hitchhiked a bike ride once with a stranger as he was stuck in Mumbai Traffic. Did safety even cross his mind? Or was his desperation to reach the destination greater than his safety? 

Amitabh Bachchan riding pillion on a bike with a stranger in Mumbai. (Picture Credits: Instagram/amitabhbachchan)

Accidents occur at times even when everybody is following the rules and driving carefully. How safe can you be when you are riding with strangers who are breaking rules on an everyday basis, riding in the wrong lanes, riding rashly, etc.? How justified is it for these riders to be putting themselves and their passengers at risk in their quest to complete more rides? Who is to be blamed for this? Is it the poor rider trying to earn more by completing more rides or the Cab Aggregators who are underpaying these riders while pocketing a sizeable cut and setting up crazy targets for these riders or Our governments for the lack of good roads and policies that put these riders and passengers like us at risk? I will leave it to you to answer this question!

(Fact: The number of Road Accidents Involving Two-wheelers in India in the year 2021 was 4,12,432, and 75,000 two-wheeler riders lost their lives in 2022 due to accidents)

 As for me, I will not be riding again in a Bike Taxi. My life is too precious to gamble away on a bike ride with a stranger.

Have you ever commuted using a bike taxi? If so, what was your experience? Share your experience in the comments section.

Category : Personal Experience


Written by Prasad B Y

Foodie, Coffee Lover & Techie