While commuters are willing to pay more for better public transport, they want restrictions on surge pricing, suggestions gathered over the past few weeks by a government appointed fare-structure committee show. After receiving over 900 filled-in survey forms that it had released online and interacting with stakeholders, the committee, appointed to decide the fares of taxis, app-based cabs and autorickshaws, is set to prepare its report, its members said.
In March, state transport minister Diwakar Raote appointed the four-member committee to be headed by senior MMRDA official B S Khatua. In the past two months, it held discussions with stakeholders, including taxis unions, app-based companies, car dealers and manufacturers, to understand their expectations of public transport. It also uploaded a survey form for drivers, unions and commuters’ feedback.
“We spoke to all who could be affected by the fares of taxis and rickshaws. We have understood their issues with the present structure and taken notes of their expectations. The committee will now begin to deliberate upon their responses and prepare a collective report,” Khatua said. “Many have agreed to retain the present pricing model of app-based cabs, which benefits both drivers and consumers. However, they want a cap on the surge pricing. What we aim to achieve is preventing over-charging by the aggregators,” an official from the committee said.
Eighty percent of the over 900 survey forms were received from Mumbai. The committee has decided to extend the deadline by 15 days till May 31 to invite more responses. “Considering that this is a state-based survey, we expected at least 2,000 responses,” an official said.
Likely recommendations in the report
* Follow the Hakim Committee model for kaali-peelis and rickshaws.
* Maintain restricted surge pricing for app-based cabs, but stipulate fare bracket.
* Give app-based cab drivers more time to switch to CNG-based engines
* Remove incentive-based model for app-based cab drivers. Allow them to earn through surge pricing
* No limit on rickshaw, taxi and app-based cab fleets in the state.