Delhi govt notifies cab aggregator policy, fleets to switch to electric
Those interested would need to register with the government within 90 days from the date of notification and procure a license
The Delhi government on Wednesday notified the Delhi Motor Vehicle Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme — which mandates all cab aggregators and delivery service providers to switch their fleet entirely to electric by 2030 — in a bid to curtail the annual bad air crisis caused by vehicular emissions, among an array of other factors, in the Capital.
Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the policy covers all aggregators providing passenger transport in Delhi as well as those involved in delivery services and e-commerce vehicles, adding that those interested would need to register with the government within 90 days from the date of notification and procure a license. The licence will be valid for five years.
“This is the first time a state government has taken such a major decision keeping air pollution in mind. After 2030, all aggregators, be it those involved in passenger transport like Ola or Uber, delivery service providers and thirdly e-commerce platforms, will be running only on electric,” said Gahlot.
HT reached out to cab aggregators Ola and Uber but neither responded to queries seeking comments.
Even though the scheme made provisions to allow bike taxis again, only electric two-wheelers will be considered valid with immediate effect, the minister added. In February, the government called on cab aggregators to halt all bike taxi services after concerns were raised over the safety and convenience of passengers and imposed challans worth ₹5,000 for the first offence and ₹10,000 for the second time they were found operating within Delhi.
Meanwhile, all other vehicle categories, including commercial two-wheelers for goods, have been given four to five years to phase out existing conventional fuel-based fleets and switch to electric vehicles (EV). “This is the first time bike taxis have been allowed in Delhi legally. Bike taxis or two-wheelers will have to be only electric though, from day one,” he said, adding no non-electric two-wheeler could apply for a permit.
However, bike taxi operators said they also needed more time to switch to EVs like other two-wheelers. “We have been requesting for time so we can save money and invest in EVs,” said Aarender Singh, president, Apna Bike Taxi Association.
“Unlike two-wheelers that deliver food or groceries, we have to travel larger distances and have found that the cheaper EVs only last around 70km on a full charge. The more expensive ones, which can last over 150km at a time, cost over ₹1.5 lakh and we need more time for such an investment” said Singh. He added that around 100,000 riders will be impacted by the restriction.
Transport secretary cum commissioner Ashish Kundra said: “Only electric bikes will be registered and the remaining bikes will not. Such vehicles that are not registered, are also liable to be impounded.”
The policy, which extends to two, three, and four-wheelers, also makes it mandatory for the aggregators to establish a 24x7 “command and control centre” to monitor the movements of vehicles and respond to panic button alerts, which the government would also have access to.
“Within 90 days of the policy notification, all aggregators, be it new or old, will have to apply for a license... There will be a nominal fee and the license will be valid for five years. If an aggregator only has electric vehicles, there will be no registration fee,” said Gahlot, adding the policy was valid for aggregators with a fleet of 25 vehicles or higher.
“A command control centre will have to be established by the aggregator and for those operating outside Delhi NCR, will also have to provide the transport department remote access,” he added.
The timelines set by the government showed both passenger and goods four-wheelers would have to switch 5% of their fleet to EVs within the first six months of the notification. to 15% within a year, 25% in two years, 50% in three, 75% in four and 100% by the end of five years. For three-wheelers, aggregators have to switch 10% of their fleet to EVs within six months, 25% within a year, 50% within two years, 75% within three years and 100% within four years.
For two-wheelers, while only EVs are allowed with immediate effect in the passenger transport segment, aggregators involved in e-commerce and delivery services have been given time to make this transition. Aggregators will have to make 10% of the two-wheelers EVs within six months, 25% within a year, 50% in two years, 75% in three and 100% in four years.
Gahlot said those found violating the policy will be fined ₹5,000, with multiple violations fetching fines up to ₹100,000 per instance.
Meanwhile, experts called the move commendable and said enforcing a mandate was one way to promote EVs. “We have seen globally that while offering incentives and rebates is one way to promote EVs, enforcing a mandate is another way of doing it. These vehicles travel large distances across the city in a single day and therefore, it is important to reduce the emissions from them. We are already seeing a swift transition in two and three-wheelers,” said Amit Bhatt, managing director (India), International Council on Clean Transportation.
Vehicles are Delhi’s biggest contributors to local pollution and their daily PM2.5 contribution can range from 10 to 30% in the winter months.
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai, citing data shared with him by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the environment department, had last Friday said around 36% of the current pollution was due to vehicles in Delhi, followed by 31% from biomass burning.