Although the Karnataka and Delhi governments have curbed the rise in fares of taxis, the state is yet to finalise the city taxi scheme, which will regulate the operation and fares of app-based taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola.
App-based taxi aggregators have become popular among passengers in less than two years owing to their better service, discounts, air-conditioned services, drivers and easy booking. But there are complaints that aggregators indulge in surge pricing, charging hefty fares during peak hours. The scheme, which has been under consideration for more than three months, makes licences mandatory for aggregators and controls the fares. The transport department had sought suggestions and objections from all stakeholders.
“According to the draft scheme, the state transport authority will decide the fares of app-based taxis. It will ban surge pricing,” he said, adding the final decision is pending with the government.
According to sources in Mantralaya, currently, the file is with the law and judiciary department. It was sent to chief minister Devendra Fadanvis, but he has asked for opinion of the law and judiciary department, before a final decision.
Consumer right activists, however, are upset with the delay. “We are against surge pricing, not app-based taxi aggregators,” said Varsha Raut, office-bearer of Mumbai Grahak Panchyat, NGO fighting for consumer rights. The NGO plans to approach the government soon.
Transport minister Diwakar Raote said they will finalise the scheme after a nod from Fadnavis. He added the new policy will make CNG mandatory for app-based taxis and impose a curb on using all-India permit vehicles.
According to minister, the government will safeguard the interest of passengers. “We will ensure it’s a win-win for both passengers and aggregators. The fares should be affordable to both passengers and operators,” said Raote.