Millennium Post

Uber, Ola fall in line after Kejriwal warning

Taxi aggregators Uber,and Ola on Monday temporarily suspended surge pricing in Delhi-NCR region, following wide criticism for the manifold increase in fares. On the fourth day of odd-even scheme run by Delhi government, passengers faced difficulties in booking cabs as the platform showed fares to be as high as 5 times than the normal fare.

The US-based firm said it “regularly does surge pricing when demand outstrips supply”.

“However, given the threat of the Delhi government to cancel permits and impound vehicles of our driver partners, we are temporarily suspending surge in Delhi with immediate effect. We hope to work with the government to keep Delhi moving, especially during this time when the citizens need us the most,” Uber India General Manager North Gagan Bhatia said.

The company said higher prices are required in order to get cars on the road and keep them on the road during the busiest times.

Surge pricing is a technique used by Uber and Ola to raise fares to provide drivers the incentive of keeping their cab running while also making it available for the user irrespective of the demand.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had warned of “strict action” against app-based taxis including cancellation of permits and impounding of vehicles, for charging fares more than the rates prescribed by the government.

“Strict action, including permit cancellation and impounding of vehicles, will be taken against app-based taxis which charge fares more than government-prescribed rates (sic),” Kejriwal had tweeted.

The government had received complaints of surge pricing after the odd-even scheme was kicked off on April 15. The rates were allegedly also hiked on Monday, the first full working day of the fortnight-long odd-even scheme when offices, schools and other institutions reopened after an extended weekend.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai made an appeal to the commuters to register their complaints at 011-42400400 against exorbitant fares charged by the app-based taxi service providers.

Earlier on Monday, Kejriwal pooled in Rai’s car to reach his office at Delhi Secretariat.

Heavy traffic was witnessed at ITO and near Akshardham in the morning hours on the first working day after the road-rationing scheme was rolled out on April 15.

“Today is the real test of odd-even. Like the first phase of the scheme, we all will have to make its second phase a success,” Rai said.

A total of 710 motorists were challaned till 8 p.m. – 256 by police and 454 by the transport department’s enforcement wing.

The city government’s transport department fined another 196 motorists till 2 p.m.

This was, however, a sharp drop from the 1,714 violations on Friday and Saturday.

According to data provided by Delhi Metro, total ridership on Monday was recorded at 22.73 lakh compared to last Monday’s 22.53 lakh.

The Delhi High Court issued notice to the city government on a fresh plea against Ola and Uber for over-charging.
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