The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed all app-based taxi service providers to end their surge pricing regime and follow government-approved tariff by August 22.
The court was hearing a bench of petitions filed by an association of radio taxi operators and Ola.
Justice Manmohan gave 10 days to all app-based taxis to make changes to their software to ensure passengers are not charged more than the rates stipulated by the Delhi government in June 2013.
The order came after app-based taxi aggregator Uber requested 10 days to modify its software. Ola told the court it had already stopped charging passengers more than the notified rates.
According to the prescribed rates, fare for Economy Radio Taxis is `12.50 per km, for non-AC black and yellow top taxi is `14 per km and `16 per km for AC black and yellow top taxi.
The notified fare of Radio Taxi cabs is `23 per km. Additional night charge of 25 per cent of the fare is applicable between 11 PM and 5 AM.
The court remarked that while taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber reduce the pressure on public transport, ‘a uniform policy must be devised’ for regulating them.
It directed a special committee, set up by the Centre to examine all issues related to existing permits given to taxis and cab aggregators, to also include one senior official each from the ministry of information technology, Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Traffic Police.
The committee is to obtain advice of a transport expert from the Niti Aayog.
The Centre told the court that the transport ministry had set up the panel on May 25, 2016, to address licence issues of taxis and aggregators across India.
Justice Manmohan directed the panel to also consider Delhi government’s draft policy on regulating aggregators, give a proper hearing to all stakeholders and file a final report within three months.
The court said the policy should treat the National Capital Region (NCR) as one area, instead of treating Delhi separately from neighbouring cities of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana as cab companies are based in these cities and ply between them.
The court also advised the city’s transport department, the Union transport ministry and Delhi Police to work together to ensure “seamless flow of data” regarding people applying for licence or permit to drive taxis.
It was of the view that the incidents of crimes against women in cabs occurred because lack of availability of such data from the taxi operators and aggregators.