Govt. of India is right now drafting policies of app based taxi operators like Ola and Uber, and as per indications received till now, surge pricing maybe allowed upto 3-times.
This is a sharp reversal from earlier stand taken by state governments against surge pricing in their states – Delhi CM had earlier banned surge pricing for such app based taxis; cops in Bengaluru had seized cabs for surge pricing, and similar anti-surge policies were drafted in Maharashtra and Kerala as well.
However, Centre has now admitted that app-based taxis are helping Indians to access cabs easily, and surge pricing is just a part of their overall business model, not a method to cheat passengers. Road Ministry, in their reports and proposals, has informed the Govt. that app-based taxi operators are playing a key role in reducing the number of vehicles plying in cities, and has infact, proposed to make registration of such taxis easier.
As per reports emerging, officials from state transport departments, central transport ministry, Niti Aayog and department of electronics and IT have met recently, and have come to conclusion that surge prices upto 3-times the actual fares can be allowed for helping taxi apps to conduct their business smoothly.
However, there can be a cap on such surge pricing, and beyond 3x, it may not be allowed.
An official said, “It was agreed that provision of surge pricing will pursue operators to offer competitive minimum price. Everyone also felt that consumers need to be protected from exorbitant fare consumer may have to pay and hence there should be a cap..”
Having said that, the meeting between various Govt. departments also concluded that taxi apps need to follow rules ascertained by state governments related to their own areas. Hence, if a state govt. Like Delhi has mandated that only green fuel needs to be used by taxis (app and non-app based), then it has to be followed.
Rules pertaining to plying in selective areas, digital meters etc can also be implemented by the draft rules formed by Centre.
As of now, States of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala have formed their own draft of rules regulating taxi apps within their states. However, these states have informed that citizens’ feedback is also being considered and the final draft would be approved only after Centre introduces their own draft rules.
Meanwhile, speaking of surge pricing, Ola has recently introduced a new feature, which will inform passengers about the end of surge pricing. The feature, called as ‘Just in Time’ will inform the users about availability of cabs in their areas and when the peak pricing of the desired cab category ends.
Besides these, another new feature called ‘Rich Notifications’ has been introduced which will provide rides with real-time notifications about their rides so that drivers cannot cheat them with different route to increase the fare. This rich notification will also provide drivers’ photo, contact details along with car model and number via push notifications.