Maharashtra Caps Surge, Base Tariff For Ola, Uber; Rides Will Become Cheaper For All!
Among the big news news today, we have reports coming in about the fare fixation for cab aggregators like Uber and Ola, by the Maharashtra government.
The Maharashtra government decided to set the upper cap for the fares of these cab aggreagtors, wherein they can surge their fare up to three times of the base fare of the kaali-peeli taxis, which is Rs 14.85 per km at present.
The Start of this Resolution
In October 2016, the Maharashtra state government constituted a four-member committee under the chairmanship of retired IAS officer B C Khatua to decide the minimum and maximum fare structure for companies like Ola and Uber.
A year later in September, the committee submitted an exhaustive report to the government. On Monday, the government informed a division bench of Justices Amjad Sayyed and Anuja Prabhudessai that a resolution has been issued accepting most of the recommendations submitted by the committee, except some which were rejected.
Meanwhile, the bench heard petitions filed by Uber India Ltd, Ola Ltd, along with six driver-partners against this Maharashtra City Taxi Rules implemented by the state government in 2017. After the petition was heard in November 2017, the government had said it would go through the committee’s report and take a final decision soon.
However, until then, no coercive steps were taken against the taxi drivers under the Rules, nor against Uber and Ola taxi drivers till April 6 when the matter will be heard.
The Price Surge
According to a Government Resolution (GR), aggregators can surge their fare up to three times of the base fare of the black and yellow taxis, which is Rs 14.85 per km at present.
In a report submitted by the Khatua Committee, it was recommended to fix the base fare between Rs 14 and Rs 16 per km for three categories of aggregator cabs–regular, mid-sized and premium– whereas the upper cap for surge pricing recommended for them is Rs 26, Rs 32, and Rs 38 per km, respectively.
Currently, the minimum fares for black and yellow taxis and autorickshaw are Rs 22 and Rs 18 for first 1.5 km, respectively. Beyond the 1.5 km, the fare for taxis goes up to Rs 15 per km and Rs 12 for auto rickshaws, respectively.
The government has also accepted the new fare revision formulae recommended by the committee for the revision of fares of the black and yellow taxis and auto rickshaws.
The government has accepted the committee’s suggestion to allow additional charges for late night journeys in all municipal corporation areas in the state from midnight to 5 am and in all other areas from 11 pm to 5 am.
As for late night charges, it will be the same as 25% in all municipal corporation areas and for non-municipal corporation areas, since the chances of return fare are relatively less, to compensate for the same, it is recommended to allow late night charges in those areas at 40% of the basic fare.
Some More Recommendations
The recommendation by the panel to introduce “happy hours” by which black and yellow taxis could provide discounts to passengers during lean hours (afternoons) was rejected.
The government also accepted the recommendation that an indicator be displayed to know the occupancy status of a taxi / auto rickshaw. Maharashtra has nearly 75,000 black and yellow cabs and over 10 lakh auto rickshaws.
An illuminated LED indicator on top of taxi/ auto rickshaw can be provided to clearly indicate from a long distance as to whether that taxi/auto rickshaw is hired or empty (available for hire) or off duty.
The committee also sought strict action against drivers who refuse to ply or behave arrogantly with passengers. The government has accepted these suggestions.