Taxi aggregators Ola and Uber on Monday temporarily suspended surge pricing across Delhi after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal warned taxi companies saying the government would cancel their permits and impound vehicles in the city-state if they charge more than the fare prescribed by the authorities.
Deep Singh, business head of Ola said, “Ola has temporarily pulled out peak pricing in Delhi NCR. Ola’s shared mobility services Ola Share and Ola Shuttle have seen tremendous response and adoption from users in the region. A lot of demand is being witnessed in business districts, around metro stations and other popular areas in the city.”
Amid the second edition of odd-even programme implemented by the government from April 15-30, private cars with odd and even number plates will be allowed to ply on odd and even dates. It was first implemented for two weeks starting from January 1 in bid to reduce air pollution and free-up traffic-congested roads in the capital city.
“Given the threat of the Delhi government to cancel permits and impound vehicles of our driver partners, Uber has suspended surge pricing,” said Gagan Bhatia, general manager, Uber North.
Bhatia said Uber, in its app does notify the prospective rider of the higher fare “in order to double confirm that they understood what they were agreeing to.” Moreover, Uber argued that even airlines and hotel fares are also higher during busy periods, and such is the case for the company when demand is higher during the odd-even scheme in Delhi. “Despite this, 92% of the trips in Delhi happened on regular fares, even during the first phase of odd-even scheme,” Bhatia said.
The development is the latest regulatory obstacle that Uber is facing in Delhi. The company and the Delhi government are already engaged in a court battle on the legality of the cab services it provides in the city. Last week, Uber had objected to a similar move by Karnataka government, which limited surge pricing in the southern state through a new law – On-demand Transportation Technology aggregators Rules, 2016.
According to the new rules in Karnataka, cab-services offered by Uber and Ola can charge a maximum per-kilometer fare of R19.50 for cabs with air conditioning and R14.50 without AC facilities. The companies have been disallowed from charging a higher fare during peak hours, when demand is more than supply.