Mumbai commuters won’t get respite from Ola, Uber surge pricing for at least two months
Once the app-based taxi aggregators get the licence, they will have to agree to a cap on maximum and minimum fares. This means they will have to stop surge pricing -- charging extra during peak hours when the demand for taxis is high
While the Maharashtra government came up with rules to regulate and check surge pricing by Ola and Uber in Mumbai a month ago, the app-based taxi aggregators are yet to apply for a licence, which would make it mandatory for them to follow the rules. This means, you will have to continue paying extra during peak hours, when the demand is hight, for at least two months.
The Maharashtra government announced its new rules -- Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2017 -- to regulate app-based taxis on March 4.
Under the new rules, the state has made getting a new licence mandatory for aggregators like Uber and Ola. Once they get a licence, they will have to agree to a cap on maximum and minimum fares .
Transport officers, however, are yet to set a deadline for getting a licence. Once the deadline is set, app-based taxi aggregators who don’t get a licence will face action.
According to RTO sources, the aggregator firms need to approach regional transport offices or transport commissioner’s office with a demand draft of Rs1 lakh. The licence will be valid for five years.
Praveen Gedam, transport commissioner of the state, confirmed that no aggregator firm or individual has applied for it.
A senior transport official said, “The government has given broad outline, but minor details such as fixing of fares, rules for operation and procedure for applying for a licence are yet to be decided. Finalising the process could take two months, after which they can initiate action against those flouting rules.”
Transport officials feel that aggregators won’t apply for licences, unless the government initiates action.
Taxi and auto rickshaw unions also pressurising the government to make existing taxi aggregator firms such as Ola, Uber and others apply as early as possible, as unregulated app-based taxis are eating into their business.
According to sources, a four-member Khatua committee, headed by former IAS official BC Khatua, is in the process of fixing upper and lower limit for app-based taxis and will submit its report to the state in a month.
Under the new rules, aggregators can provide taxi service through their own or any other registered call centre, web portal or computerised system. To get a licence, the firms will have to provide 24x7 control room facility, besides mechanism for resolving passengers’ complaints. They also need to publish all details such as ownership, insurance, office address, contact details on a web portal.