Authorities yet again warn against ride-sharing

KATHMANDU: The government has yet again issued warning against the use of ride-sharing service for commuting which has gained popularity in Kathmandu Valley of late.

Issuing a notice on Tuesday, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport said that vehicles that have not been registered as a means of public transportation will not be allowed to carry public in exchange of payment.

The notice further reads that doing so would go against the Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act, 2049 BS, which states that vehicles registered for one purpose cannot be used for another.

Furthermore, the Department says that monitoring would be carried out for the same and action will be initiated against those who do not comply.

Earlier, the Patan High Court had directed the government to regulate ride-sharing service providers like Tootle and Pathao by introducing necessary policies. In February, the court issued an order to DoTM, Traffic Police, and other concerned government agencies to bring in effective legislation to regulate such services instead of discouraging them.

On a writ filed by different taxi operators against Tootle and Pathao, the Patan High Court, last year, refused to issue an interim order to stop these transportation services. DoTM, in November 2019, had issued a notice and declared Tootle and Pathao illegal. Following this, the Traffic Police had started to crack down on them.

However, DoTM stepped back from its earlier decision to ban ride-sharing services citing the public sentiment attached to it, until it decided to do the same yet again.

Meanwhile, it would be interesting to note that the notice issued by DoTM states that ride-sharing vehicles not registered as public transport have been charging people "as per their desire". However, they are actually the ones with fixed displayed rates which the general public agree to pay before accepting the ride, as opposed to some taxis that are registered as "public vehicle" but do not seem interested to carry passengers unless the price that they "quote" (without turning the metre on) is accepted by the person/s wanting to hire!