The Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways has reportedly called a meeting with representatives of the online cab aggregator industry in India such as Ola, Uber, Baxi, Rapido and NOW. According to an official source, the meeting was scheduled for today.
The meeting aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict between Indian Ministries, State Governments, and online cab-hailing platforms operational in the country. According to the source cited above, the Ministry officials had asked the representatives to present a list of challenges faced by them in their day-to-day operations. Each company was to get a time frame of 15-20 mins for making their presentation.
Cab aggregators have been involved in various disagreements with the State Governments lately. In July, the Karnataka Transport Department issued a notice to Ola, for breaking the rules after obtaining its license in the state. Both Uber and Ola have registered themselves with the Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rule, 2016 and while Ola received the license, Uber didn’t.
In July, the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union called for an indefinite strike against app-based taxi services in New Delhi. Following that, reports surfaced that the Delhi government is planning to impose a fare restriction on app-based cab aggregators including Ola and Uber. They will be barred from charging tariffs over an upper ceiling set by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi in the future.
In August, relaxing its ban on Ola and Uber with ‘immediate effect’, the Madhya Pradesh government gave the two cab companies a sigh of relief by serving them a notice to comply with the state transport guidelines in a month’s time. Madhya Pradesh transport department had earlier banned the services of Ola and Uber in the state. The ban was imposed because the Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t have any provision regarding peak time charge.
Following that, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to Ola and Uber to stop surge pricing and follow government prescribed fares. It had set August 22 as the deadline for app-based cab aggregators to completely withdraw surge pricing.
While the Indian Government has been playing an active role to control surge pricing, it has also announced that it cannot stop app-based cab aggregators from giving discounts to the consumers. The decision was made by The Delhi High Court during the proceedings of a case.
Earlier this month, the Road, Transport, and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari assured taxi aggregators that the government is working towards simplifying their problems. He added that cab aggregators should also find a way to integrate traditional black-and-yellow cabs within the purview of their operations.
The Indian Government is also reportedly planning to establish a maximum limit on fares to monitor surge pricing by online cab aggregators like Uber and Ola. This move by the government is aimed to protect consumer interest.
This development was first reported by VCcircle.