NEW DELHI: The transport department has issued 128 challans and collected around Rs 6.5 lakh from bike taxi riders since the third week of February for ferrying passengers for a charge despite having “non-transport” or private registration numbers.In February, the Delhi government said bike taxis were illegal on the ground that they violated the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It said that ride aggregators would attract fines if they continued the service.The department said it was formulating a rule for app-booked rides. Sources in the department said electric two-wheelers could be allowed as bike taxis in the policy, which is in the draft stage.A senior transport official said the department cracked down on bike taxis in the third week of February after releasing a notice that warned bike taxis operators to stop the service. The official said the decision was taken keeping in mind regulations and the safety of passengers, especially women.The transport department notice said: “It has been brought to the notice that two-wheelers having Non-Transport (Private) registration mark/number are being used to carry passengers on hire or reward.” The notice said this was a “purely commercial operation” and, therefore, violated the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988.The department laid down that ride aggregator apps that facilitate such operations in contravention of Section 93 of the act will have to pay fines. A first-time offence would attract a fine of Rs 5,000, a second offence could lead to a fine of Rs 10,000 and imprisonment of up to a year, the department’s notice said.Cab aggregators such as Ola, Uber and Rapido ply petrol and electric bikes in NCR. TOI contacted the companies for a response on the transport department’s move and it is still awaited.Transport commissioner Ashish Kundra said that running bike taxis in this way was impermissible from the beginning.Uber had earlier said that besides being affordable and quick, two-wheeler mobility supports the livelihood of over 1 lakh bike riders in Delhi. “For some, it is their only source of income while for others, it is a means to supplement earnings from other jobs,” Uber had said.Some industry estimates suggest that before the crackdown, every week in Delhi, 500,000-750,000 bike taxi trips were booked and around 70,000-80,000 riders across platforms offered the service every month in Delhi across ride platforms.