'Ride Sharing' services through apps temporarily halted in Pokhara

Published On: June 22, 2024 01:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

GANDAKI, June 22: The operation of 'ride sharing' services through apps has been temporarily halted in Pokhara, Kaski. The Transport Management Office, Kaski issued a public notice on Friday to immediately stop transporting passengers via ride-sharing apps.

The notice states that action will be taken against those who continue to carry passengers despite the ban. Dilliram Rijal, chief of the Transport Office Pokhara, said that private vehicles were found operating 'ride sharing' services illegally, prompting the halt.

"In cases of unauthorized app usage, action will be taken according to the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act," he said. "We will strictly monitor with the help of the police to ensure compliance with the published information."

Although the Vehicle and Transport Regulation Regulations-2080 BS include provisions to legalize transport services through 'ride sharing' apps in Gandaki Province, the procedure for regulation has not been established. The regulations allow four-wheelers and two-wheelers with private registration certificates to carry passengers after completing the prescribed procedures, including passenger insurance.

The transport office sets fares for public transport. However, private vehicles such as InDrive, which are currently operating, use their own apps to set fares, which is illegal according to the law.

"Even though the regulations have been made, ride-sharing services have not been regulated in Gandaki Province because the standards have not been established," said Rijal. "Now, without taking permission from the transport office, passengers are being transported through voluntary apps that set their own fares. Ride-sharing services are illegal in Gandaki Province."

Private vehicles will be allowed to register for "Ride Sharing" only after standards and procedures are established. The popularity of ride-sharing apps like Pathao, Tootle, Sahara, InDrive, Easy, Taximandu, and Cab Taxi is growing in Pokhara, but they have not yet been regulated and legalized.

In Pokhara, the capital of Gandaki Province, 'Ride Sharing' services, including InDrive, registered with the Company Registrar's Office and the Industry Department, are operating. However, they have not been legalized under current traffic laws in Gandaki.

For 'Ride Sharing' services, the registration fee for two-wheelers is Rs 25,000, with an annual renewal fee of Rs 12,500. For four-wheelers, the registration and permit fee is Rs 50,000, with an annual renewal fee of Rs 25,000. The fee for two-wheeler and four-wheeler registration permits is Rs 70,000, and the annual renewal fee is Rs 35,000.

There is a demand to legalize 'ride sharing' to prevent passenger exploitation and suffering in the public transport sector. Kedar Paudel, coordinator of the Federation of Transport Professionals, Gandaki Province, stated that ride-sharing services should be brought under the law. "Not just anyone should be able to carry passengers using an app. The government should regulate it," he said. "Why do we need public transport if private vehicles can carry passengers independently?"

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