Bengaluru: Recently the transport department had confidently asserted that after the introduction of the Transportation Technology Aggregators Act 2016, there would be no surge pricing by the app-based operators.
This hasn’t happened, however. Although Uber and Ola have approached the RTO for licences under the act, they have not been granted so far. The reason given is that despite sending letters to the cab aggregators, they have failed to comply with the guidelines and have not provided the required documents. If this behaviour continues for a week, the transport department will file a contempt case in the court. The transport department has set a deadline of May 1 for these operators to comply with all the rules. Post May 1, a strict drive will be carried out against these aggregators.
So far the RTO has detained 400 Uber and Ola cabs for violating the norms. H G Kumar, the additional commissioner of the Transport department says, “They have merely submitted an application for a license without any required documents or specifying the arrangements they have made so far for complying with the guidelines, inspection of all their vehicles, permit particulars among other things. They have to get rid of the All India Permit and start plying within City Taxi permit limits if they want to continue. Besides, we have received innumerable complaints from customers, both verbally and through various social media sites that surge pricing is going on unabated.”
Meanwhile Uber has submitted their objections to the government over the new act and has been in talks with of government representatives, expecting an amendment to the present act. There seem to be some practical difficulties in implementing the new act, points out the spokesperson of Uber.
The Uber spokesperson said, “All these guidelines are an additional burden on drivers. As the drivers are not our employees, we cannot do anything with their vehicles. As far as permits are concerned, the majority of them have All India tourist vehicles, and now each of them will have to get a new permit. The authorities have asked for installation of panic buttons, now the question is, since most of the cabs are plying with multiple aggregators, to whom will the panic buttons be connected? Technologically it is not possible. Fitting up digital meters with a printing facility is technologically degrading. When a commuter gets all the details on his phone, why do we need a paper? We are talking about a credible change here.”
As far as surge pricing is concerned, the spokesperson of Ola says, “When travelers book a flight they are ok paying 5000 rupees extra, but they think twice about paying surge pricing when it helps the passenger in need of a cab. When we buy warm clothes during summer, they are cheaper, but the same in winter is costlier. So, peak pricing has existed always. This is not a new concept.”...