National

Some relief for cab, taxi operators in Maharashtra

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 24, 2017

BC Khatua panel proposes cut in permit fees, forms two groups

The recommendations of the BC Khatua Committee on regulating cab aggregator and taxi operators in Maharashtra could come as a breather to the likes of Ola, Uber and Meru.

The panel has proposed relaxation of several provisions of the Maharashtra City Taxi Scheme, including lowering the permit fees for all types of cars to a flat ₹10,000 instead of a graded system ranging from ₹75,000 to ₹2.6 lakh under the City Taxi rules.

Shailesh Sawlani, General Manager, Uber India, West, said: “A preliminary reading of the report suggests that the Committee has made welcome strides in turning aside some of the contentious provisions of the proposed Maharashtra City Taxi Rules that directly impact thousands of driver-partners on app-based platforms. However, there is further scope for liberalisation.”

Other proposals

The State government had appointed a four-member committee under former IAS officer Khatua to review taxi and auto-rickshaw fares fixed by the PMA Hakeem committee in 2012. The committee also proposed the removal of the requirement that 30 per cent of cab fleets should be above 1400 cc.

The committee has also recommended that all the ‘Kaali Peeli’ (black-and-yellow) cabs should also adopt technology and dynamic pricing and has commissioned a pilot.

According to sources, the government had created two groups, a treatment group of Kaali Peeli drivers that were allowed to accept rides via street hail as well as through the Uber app and a control group that only had access to street hail. When accepting rides through tech, the Kaali Peelis in the treatment group could operate on fares and dynamic pricing patterns as is available to app-cab drivers. The pilot revealed that the efficiency of drivers who relied on tech increased in the treatment group and also led to 26 per cent increase in net earnings per day.

The only concern could be on the proposal to fix a floor tariff and prevent surge pricing during certain hours of the day. Cab aggregators said they were offering discounts at lean periods to help drivers get more business and reduce congestion.

Delhi and West Bengal are also looking at similar proposals. In Karnataka, as per the new Motor Vehicle Act, which was amended in April 2016, the rates were fixed by the government for all aggregators licensed to operate as per the new norms. However, the norms are not being followed.

“The RTO Dept is not implementing this amendment in the case of Ola and Uber but has clamped down on smaller players like Bengaluru-based bus pool app ZipGo,” Tanveer Pasha, President for Ola Uber TaxiForSure Drivers and Owners Association, told BusinessLine.

With inputs from Sangeetha Chengappa in Bengaluru

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Published on October 24, 2017
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