Kathmandu, February 13
The Patan High Court has directed the government to regulate ridesharing services like Tootle and Pathao by introducing necessary policies.
The double bench of Justices Shriman Kumar Gautam and Mina Gautam on Wednesday issued an order to the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), Traffic Police and other related government agencies to bring in effective legislation to regulate such ridesharing services instead of discouraging them.
On a writ filed by different taxi operators against Tootle and Pathao, the Patan High Court in November had refused to issue an interim order to stop these transportation services.
The DoTM, in November, had issued a notice and declared ridesharing service providers Tootle and Pathao illegal. Following this, the Traffic Police had started to crack down on the ride-sharing service providers. Moreover, the department had warned it would initiate legal action if the service providers continued to use private motorbikes for transporting passengers.
However, DoTM had stepped back from its earlier decision to ban ride-sharing services citing the public sentiment attached to it. Citing that people have found an alternative to public transport and overwhelmingly support this service, the department had stated that it would not take any step to discourage the service in respect to the public sentiment.
The Section 8 of Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act, however, does not allow vehicles registered for private purposes to be used as means of public transportation.
The Traffic Police invoked this section of the act to take action against motorbike owners.
Meanwhile, Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general at the department, informed that the process to frame new rules to govern the ‘online-based transport service’ has already been initiated. “A new bill to regulate the ride-sharing services will be drafted soon,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.