The Delhi high court on Monday issued a notice to the Delhi government on a petition claiming that app-based taxi aggregators, including Ola and Uber, were “surge pricing” taxi fares during odd-even scheme days.
Under “surge pricing” or “peak-time charge” the fares of taxi service providers automatically increase when the taxi demand is higher than the number of drivers available. These fares could be as high as five times the normal fare.
In June 2013, the government had notified the fares that the city taxis are permitted to charge.
Justice JR Midha asked the government to file a status report on what action is it taking against the taxi operators who flout rules.
“When people are made to suffer the government cannot wash off its hands and fail to take action. Government cannot be helpless,” the judge said taking a serious view of the issue.
The court will hear the matter again on April 25.
The order came on a petition filed by Magic Sewa Pvt Ltd, a radio taxi operator, alleging malpractices by taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber.
“However, certain Unlicensed Taxi Aggregators have been disdainfully violating the said provision of law by often charging fares as low as `5 per km and as high as `38 per km,” advocate Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for Magic Sewa, said.
There is no provision under the law for “peak-time charge” or “surge price”. The rationale put forth by the Unlicensed Taxi Aggregators that the surge prices are meant to encourage more taxi drivers to come on the road when the demand is high is without any basis, Sachdeva said.
Sachdeva said that the Delhi government failed to take action against the taxi aggregators despite repeated complaints.
He sought the court’s direction to call for records of the companies to use the data to initiate appropriate legal proceedings against them for overcharging or undercharging of taxi fares.