With the revised City Taxi Scheme now introducing the likelihood of regulating surge pricing in app-based taxi services, frequent users of Ola and Uber cabs said they expect the move to make their commute more affordable. While a hefty fee of Rs 2.61 lakh has been introduced for app-based operators’ taxis over 1400 CC, commuters said they expect this not to pinch their pockets as most commuters use the mini/micro versions and not the prime/luxury cars. The luxe segment in these services include Multi utility Vehicles (MUVS) and SUVs like Toyota Innova, Nissan Evalia and Chevrolet Enjoy.
Anuja Trivedi, an employee of Deloitte, said, “I use Ola mini cabs and it is very convenient. As per my understanding, the surge pricing during rush hours is being tackled and that makes me very happy. I have never used prime cabs and as far as I know most people don’t, so the high permit fees is going to affect very few people.”
The new draft rules provide an option for kaali-peeli taxis to shift from their current model to the app-based model if they prefer to do so. Minakshi Vohra, working at CitiBank, said, “I prefer hailing a cab. I think the Ola Uber prices are bound to go up, so I will continue using kaali-peelis.” The representatives of Ola and Uber refrained from commenting on the subject. KK Tiwari, president of Swabhiman Taxi Rickshaw Union, said, “We care about all the taxi drivers be it kaali peeli or Ola and Uber. Now think about the life of the driver who bought a luxury car investing all the money and jewellery his family had, and on top of it he has to pay Rs 2.61 Lakh!”
Tiwari also said, “They are not putting a limit to the number of aggregators. Nor are they limiting the number of taxi companies that can be in the market. The government is just regularising the business of Ola and Uber. Kaali-peeli taxi drivers do not have the safety net that these aggregators have. They do not get compensated. In my opinion, Ola and Uber should stop working until the new rules are in place.”
A L Quadros, general secretary of Mumbai Taxi Union, said, “I thank the government for bringing in the changes we have asked for so long. They have addressed the surge pricing issue, they have made badges mandatory and above all asked cab aggregators to finally come under the Motor Vehicles Act. Also, our kaali-peeli taxi drivers finally get some justice. I welcome the changes.”
The motor vehicles department of Maharashtra released the revised draft of City Taxi Scheme, 2015, which aims at bringing the app based aggregators like Ola and Uber under one umbrella. Functioning under the All India Tourist Permits issued under section 88 (9) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, the online aggregators will now come under the ambit of App-based City Taxi Permit issued under section 74 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988.