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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Govt revs up motorcycle scheme to boost tourism

Two foreigners enjoy a bicycle ride on the Chakrata Road in Dehradun on Tuesday.
Two foreigners enjoy a bicycle ride on the
Chakrata Road in Dehradun
Dehradun, August 24
The State Transport Authority finally approved the Motorcycle Rent Scheme which has been existing since 1997 but has never been utilised. The authority has now decided to benefit from the scheme the way other states like Delhi and Goa have been doing for years by renting motorcycles to tourists.
Secretary S Ramswamy said the authority was going through the case studies of Maharashtra, Goa and Delhi in this context, and had asked for a copy of this scheme from these states. After going through them, the authority would make the required alteration or additions in the scheme and officially launch it.
He also added that seeing the illegal service provided by some of the transporters operating in Haridwar and Rishikesh, the authority decided to launch it properly so that the interested individuals could undertake it legally and as a result boost the tourism in the state. He said initially the authority would allow the licence holders to begin with group tourists with five motorcycles at least and ensure medical and security service in a vehicle following them.
The authority hoped that once it started off, it would invite applications from many aspirants.
Under this scheme, the operators are required to have permits for taxi cab and five motorcycles under the Motorvehicle Act 1988. The applicants need to deposit Rs 1,000 for the licence and submit a character certificate. He should also have premises to provide for repair of the motorcycles and 24-hour phone service.
The transporters in the city are quite excited about the business this new initiative would generate for them.
Rajinder Singh, a transporter who runs truck business, said he had no idea of such a scheme being rolled out by permit. He showed keen interest in dabbling his hands in this business when it got launched. “Lot of tourists, both domestic as well as international ones, prefer to go to hill stations on motorcycles to get a hand-on independent experience. I am sure such a scheme will not only benefit the tourists but the operators as well in a big way,” he added.
Indeed, the tour operators in Delhi and Goa have mastered this trade as these two cities witness a smooth flow of international tourists. The Manager of Smart Operator based at Karol Bagh said his company had been renting out bikes to individual as well as groups. In case of latter, they got in touch with the company representing the group. Instead of fixing rent according to the place the tourist desired to go, they evaluated it as per the duration. For one month, they charged 20,000 per person.
He also added that it never happened that the tourists did not return the vehicles as first, usually they went back the same route and secondly, for security, the operators all took important documents from tourists.
Olvibo, owner of Albi Enterprises in Goa, said he had been renting out motorcycles to tourists to ply within Goa and outside from one month to as long as six months. To ensure the security of the vehicle, he took copies of essential documents such as a copy of pan card, pass port, etc, and money in advance, besides the essential legal formalities.

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