Surge prices' for cab services hit commuters hard
Deccan Chronicle.| Tushar Kaushik
Though cabs also add to the traffic, they are anyway plying on the roads on a daily basis
Dynamic pricing by cab aggregators affects me, especially during the monsoon. I don't have any transport facility provided by my company, so I am forced to shell out a lot more than I am supposed to because of the price surge, says an employee.
HYDERABAD: Surge pricing levied by cab aggregators whenever it rains in the city is not only hurting commuters, but also making more and more people opt for personal vehicles. This, in turn, is indirectly causing an increase in traffic and air pollution in the city.
With the monsoon hitting the city, spells of rain are expected in most of the evening. As roads are busy in the evenings, commuters face a double whammy - lack of cabs as well as surge pricing.
Though cabs also add to the traffic, they are anyway plying on the roads on a daily basis. That is why personal vehicles coming on to the roads lead to a greater rise in traffic congestion. Several netizens complained of surge pricing, and some also pointed to surge pricing being levied even when it is not raining.
"Dynamic pricing by cab aggregators affects me, especially during the monsoon. I don't have any transport facility provided by my company, so I am forced to shell out a lot more than I am supposed to because of the price surge, which is usually Rs 150- Rs 200 more," said Jagannath Venugopal, an employee of Infosys.
Satyanarayana Mathala, president, Telangana Facilities Management Council (TFMC), says the surge pricing of cabs will naturally push more and more people towards using their personal vehicles to commute to work. He says even with work from office levels not yet close to pre-pandemic times, the traffic in the city is quite high. "At this rate, the city will become another Bengaluru. We do not want to go that way."
Founder president of Telangana Gig and Platform Union Workers (TGPWU) Shaik Salauddin says contrary to popular belief, the drivers themselves do not earn more from surge pricing. In fact, they are not even aware that the customer is being charged higher fees, he claimed.
"Sometimes the fare is hiked to 3-4 times the usual fare, but on their app, drivers will see the usual fare itself. It’s part of the algorithm game played by cab aggregators," he says.
IT firms go the extra mile
Lack of last mile connectivity with public transport keeps many IT sector employees away from using them. To resolve this, IT firms have arranged transport for their employees from Metro stations to workplaces.
Centre warns firms
On May 10, the Central government held a meeting with cab aggregator platforms where it cautioned them against levying high surge pricing. In Mumbai, from April 1, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) imposed a cap of 1.5 times the base fare on surge pricing.