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Uber Raises Concerns To Maharashtra CM Over New City Taxi Rules

Uber Raises Concerns To Maharashtra CM Over New City Taxi Rules

Last week the Maharashtra government released the draft of Maharashtra City Taxi Rules, 2016. The draft rules were aimed to regulate the licensing of taxi permits on cab aggregators. Licence will be granted to a firm registered under the Indian Partnership Act, 1932, or a company registered under the Companies Act, 2013.

As per a report by Business Standard, the state transport department sought suggestions and objections from various stakeholders by November 5, 2016.

In this regard, cab aggregator Uber has raised an objection to Maharashtra’s draft rules to regulate ride-hailing apps.

Uber has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis detailing its complaints about the draft rules. An Uber representative wrote on October 21, 2016 that “Some of the proposed rules, if adopted, would mean an end to the Uber that Mumbaikars know and love today.”

The complaint states the objection on three fronts – the proposed restrictions on engine capacity, price tags for permits, and pricing.

One of the rules requires that half the fleet consists of cars with engine capacity of over 1400 cc. Uber has argued that this will lead to an increase in prices including price tags for permits – which can go up to INR 2.61 Lakhs – are too steep and “the requirement for Uber to deposit INR 50 Lakhs per 1,000 vehicles will make the business unviable”, according to the company. It has also raised a concern against price floors and price caps.

However, the draft is not yet clear on key points, including if app-based taxi permit holders can work with multiple operators or switch operators; cap on the maximum numbers of vehicles per aggregator; and how and when the operators can ban drivers.

Cab aggregators have been on the radar of 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 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. In September this year reports surfaced that the Indian Government is reportedly planning to establish a maximum limit on fares to monitor surge pricing by online cab aggregators like Uber and Ola.

The development was reported by ET.