Police arrest Tootle, Pathao riders; say bike-hailing services not legally registered

- Sanjaya Lama, Kathmandu

Jan 15, 2019-

Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has started taking action against motorbikes giving rides to the people through ride-hailing apps such as Tootle and Pathao, saying that the service providers were charging money from customers which is against the law.

The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division started this campaign after Hello Sarkar forwarded the complaints it received from general public regarding the legality of the Tootle and Pathao which are giving rides to the people by taking cash through mobile apps, said SP Jaya Raj Sapkota, Spokesperson at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.

Following the complaints, the MTPD had asked the Department of Transport Management regarding the legal status of bike sharing service. In response, the DoTM said that the Tootle and Pathao were not registered at the office.

SP Sapkota said that they started taking action after finding that the ride sharing apps were not registered at the department. He said police impounded five motorbikes and arrested their riders operating the bike hailing service on Monday. The bike riders were fined Rs 1,000 for violating the law.

He said that action was taken against the riders of five motorbikes bearing registration plate Ba 26 Pa 9946, Ba 35 Pa 8034, Ba 93 Pa 8519, Lu 20 Pa 7634 and Ba 3 Pa 6582.

He said that the private vehicles cannot give rides to the people for cash.

According to Section 8 of the Transport Management Act 2049, vehicles registered for private purpose cannot be used as a means of public transportation.

The service had become popular transportation means among youngsters given the relatively cheap fare compared to taxi and comfort it provided against the crowded public transportation.

Sixit Bhatta, CEO of Tootle, said “We are an open job platform provider for unemployed people through internet. This service has been proving beneficial to people of various quarters including differently-abled.” 

He said that bringing the issue of Transport Management Act 2049 at this moment is meaningless as internet was not is the use when the act was introduced. “The Act does not talk about internet and its pervasiveness,” he added.

Tootle is an app which brings two-wheelers to your doorsteps and drops you at your destination. This app basically plays the role of a matchmaker between people who need rides on two-wheelers and those who are willing to offer rides inside the Kathmandu Valley.

Tootle was launched in January 2017 by a group of youngsters conducting researches on location-based online platforms.

Over 2,000 people had signed up to work as drivers for Tootle in the first year of its inception. It also has a client base of 7,000-8,000 who take 60-70 rides per day.

Meanwhile, netizens have expressed dissatisfaction over the government move to arrest the tootle riders, saying that the service had brought an innovative reform in the country’s public transportation sector.

Uddhav Nepal posted: “I think they have to review and make proper law ASAP for private vehicles to carry passenger so that most of the youth can get a job.”

At the same time, some people have supported the government’s move, saying that any kind of business should be operated under the law.

“The business should be registered under the prevalent law and should facilitate government in tax collection. The ride-hailing app like Tootle should first registered themselves as a company and acquire licence to operate the business,” Sharams Bhattarai posted in his Facebook.





Published: 15-01-2019 17:22

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