Maharashtra govt for capping fares at 3 times base rate for cab aggregators

PTI Mumbai | Updated on March 10, 2020

The Maharashtra government has issued a resolution setting out a formula for fixing fares of app-based cab aggregators such as Uber and Ola, the Bombay High Court has been told.

The Government Resolution allows aggregators surge their fare up to three times of the base fare of the black and yellow taxis, which is ₹14.85 per km at present.

The government constituted Khatua panel had recommended fixing the base fare between ₹14 and ₹16 per km for three categories of aggregator cabs — regular, mid-size and premium — whereas the ceiling rate for surge pricing recommended for them is ₹26, ₹32, and ₹38 per km, respectively.

Currently, the minimum fare for black and yellow taxis is ₹22 and for autorickshaws ₹18 for the first 1.5 km. Beyond 1.5 km, the fare for taxis goes up to ₹15/km and for autorickshaws ₹12.

In October 2016, the State government had constituted a four-member committee under the chairmanship of a retired IAS officer BC Khatua to decide on the minimum and maximum fare structure for cab aggregators. In September 2017, the committee submitted its 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 committee’s recommendations.

The Bench was hearing petitions filed by Uber India Ltd, Ola Ltd, and six driver-partners challenging the Maharashtra City Taxi Rules implemented by the State government in 2017. At that time, the government had said it would go through the committee’s report and take a final decision.

On Monday, government pleader GW Mattos told the Court that the State would not take any coercive steps against Uber and Ola taxi drivers till April 6 when the matter will be heard.

The government has accepted the committee’s suggestion to allow additional charges 25 per cent over the basic fare for late-night trips in all municipal corporation areas from midnight to 5 am and in all other areas at 40 per cent from 11 pm to 5 am.

However, 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.

Published on March 10, 2020

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