App cab rates should not dip be­low kaali-peeli tar­iff level, says fare panel

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Somit.Sen@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: The Khatua com­mit­tee set up to for­mu­late a new fare struc­ture for a level play­ing field be­tween ag­gre­ga­tor cabs and other taxis has rec­om­mended a limit on not only surge pric­ing but also the price dips that are com­mon with Ola and Uber.

The low-end prices that ag­gre­ga­tors like Ola and Uber switch to when they need to at­tract cus­tomers should not dip be­low the fare charged by the black-and-yel­low taxis for go­ing the same dis­tance, said sources.

The Khatua re­port was sub­mit­ted to the trans­port min­istry on Mon­day but has not been made pub­lic yet.

If the rec­om­men­da­tion is ac­cepted, the low-end pric­ing of Ola and Uber is likely to get a lower limit of Rs 14.84 per km, the pre­vail­ing fare for black-and-yel­low taxis.

To­day, low-end fares many a time dip be­low the fares of black-and-yel­low taxis.

Reg­u­lar users of ag­gre­ga­tor cabs have been op­pos­ing any gov­ern­ment con­trols on low-end fares that would lead to an in­crease in ride costs.

“We have only ob­jected to the surge prices, which are two to three times the nor­mal fare dur­ing peak hours and dur­ing heavy rain,” said Shruti Desh­mukh, a reg­u­lar user of ag­gre­ga­tor cabs. “But the low-end fare of­fers, rang­ing from Rs 6 per km to Rs 11 per km, should con­tinue.”

A gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said that if hid­den costs of ag­gre­ga­tor cabs were taken into ac­count — a fixed cost (Rs 40 up­wards), a ride time cost (around Re 1for every minute of travel) and the ac­tual cost of­fered per km — then the av­er­age per km cost came to Rs 17 per km.

“It is jus­ti­fied to bring the low-end cost at par with those of kaali-peeli taxis as it will give the two a level-play­ing field,” the of­fi­cial said.

The Khatua re­port also lays spe­cial em­pha­sis on tele­scopic fares for black-andyel­low taxis, which means the fare in­cre­ment re­duces as the dis­tance in­creases, de­creas­ing the cost of a long-dis­tance jour­ney.

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