Maharashtra permits driving goods transport vehicle with private car license

Maharashtra’s state transport commissioner Avinash Dhakne in a circular issued on Thursday said that persons holding a valid driving licence to drive a private car can use the same driving licence to operate a goods transport vehicle too from today onwards. The circular was issued to 50 regional transport offices in the state.

Earlier, two separate licences were issued for the categories—transport and non-transport. However,  now it will be perceived as licences for ‘class of vehicles’—which in this case is a light motor vehicle (LMV).

“The implementation of this rule was long overdue. In fact, a 2017 Supreme Court order allows use of the same licence for transport and non-transport vehicles. But citizens complained of harassment by enforcement agencies when they were caught driving transport vehicles using a regular licence. Now, they can safely use the same licence to drive two different categories of vehicles, but both LMVs.”

~ Avinash Dhakne, commissioner, State Transport – Maharashtra

Furthermore, if one wants to operate a taxi or AC cab — autorickshaw or minibus, then an additional public service vehicle authorisation badge will be required from the transport department, apart from a permit. There will be no need for a separate commercial driving licence.

Also, in case of two-wheelers, if Mumbai starts bike-taxi services, no separate licences will be required, sources said. A two-wheeler licence with permission/badge to operate passenger transport vehicles will suffice, they added.

“The new rule will put an end to driving schools enrolling citizens for commercial driving licences for tempos and school buses. This will, in a way, affect their business as there are many applicants for such licences every month,”

A senior RTO official

The new system will be a ‘convenience’ to anyone who wants to switch from a non-transport to transport vehicle, he added.

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