Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today flagged off the first set of 100 Uber bike taxis, under a new scheme aimed at generating jobs for the state’s unemployed youth. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had earlier given the go-ahead to the launch of bike taxis in the state in May as part of the government’s ‘Apni Gaddi, Apna Rozgar’ programme as promised by the Congress in poll manifesto. Originally, Amarinder was scheduled to do the honours for the function held in Mohali. To start with, the bike taxis will start plying in Mohali, Ludhiana, Zirakpur and Kharar. Badal said, “Bike-sharing services like uberMOTO will not only contribute greatly to improving last-mile connectivity in Punjab and cutting congestion, but also be instrumental in creating thousands of entrepreneurship and economic opportunities for the youth in the state.” UberMOTO is now available in nine cities — Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mohali (including Zirakpur and Kharar) and Ludhiana, Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Head-Public Policy, Uber India and South Asia, told reporters. Kohli said UberMOTO is in line with the company’s commitment to providing affordable mobility options for riders and low entry barrier micro entrepreneurship opportunities for drivers.
Prabhjeet Singh, General Manager, Delhi NCR and North India, Uber, said: “We aim to generate another 10,000 entrepreneurial opportunities in Punjab in the next one year and a total of 45,000 opportunities in the next five years.” Under the policy, currently in the process of finalisation by the Punjab transport department, existing and new motorcycle owners will be able to get commercial permits and licences to run two-wheelers as pillion taxis. The Apni Gaddi, Apna Rozgar scheme, as proposed in the manifesto, envisages one lakh taxis, commercial LCVs and other vehicles to be provided to unemployed youth every year at subsidised rates, without collateral and with the government standing guarantee. Two women driver partners have signed up in Punjab so far and can operate at the hours they want, Kohli said. “In many ways, we contribute to the overall mission of the government, whether it is Digital India, as each one of these drivers on our platform is digitally literate… and in many ways you are contributing to Skill India because they are skilled to drive on our platform,” Kohli added. Bike taxis are popular in South-East Asia, she said, adding that the concept is fast catching up in Indian cities too.