The City Taxi Scheme proposed by the state government, which aims at regulating surge pricing by app-based taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber is likely to be delayed as the government wants to hold further deliberations with all the stakeholders. The scheme aims at ensuring a level playing field for all taxi aggregators.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked transport department officials to call a meeting of all the taxi unions, fleet taxi operators and app-based aggregators on August 8, said department officials. Its outcome will decide the final draft of the policy. Transport commissioner Shyam Wardhane confirmed this.
When a delegation of Jai Bhagavan Mahasangh, a new union of taxi-rickshaw drivers met Fadnavis last week, he said he would announce regulations for app-based taxis within a week. Following this, the union postponed its decision to strike on August 10. The Mahasangh’s one-day strike on June 21 had received tremendous support from cab drivers in the city.
The transport department proposed restricting the operations of app-based taxis during non-peak hours and restricting their upper surge limit to 1.5 times that of the air-conditioned Cool Cab fare, which is Rs 18.5 per kilometre. Transport minister Diwakar Raote cleared this proposal before forwarding it to the chief minister.
From 2014, Uber and Ola have become popular among commuters due to their low rates during non-peak hours, easy availability and better quality of AC vehicles. Since they have affected the businesses of traditional taxis, the government is under pressure to introduce restrictions.
Taxi unions contend that app-based cabs are illegal, while traditional cabs follow the rules laid down by the transport authorities.They want restrictions on surge pricing as that is how app-based cabs make their profits. Since they charge more during peak hours, the non-peak hour charges are cheaper. Thus, majority of commuters prefer them over black and yellow taxis.
Currently, Mumbai’s taxis include black and yellow cabs, Cool Cabs, and radio cab services, such as Tabcab and Meru. The tariff of all these taxis is fixed by the transport authorities. Including app-based taxis, their number is estimated at 47,000.