RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch on Tuesday opposed the government's move to permit the cab aggregators to charge the customers up to three times during high demand periods, asserting that any decision in this regard must be taken keeping public interest in mind.
In a letter to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, SJM's Co-convenor Ashw Mahajan stressed the need to better regulate surge pricing limits for taxi aggregators under Motor Vehicle Act, 2019.
"The taxi aggregator rules under the Motor Vehicle Act are made keeping the above public interest in mind. If that is not done, it would be an unpopular move and we may risk the states coming up with their own rules and setting lower limits of surge pricing for taxi aggregators," he stated.
He also sought time from Gadkari to discuss the issue in more details.
Mahajan claimed that the taxi aggregators --Uber and Ola-- who started activities in India in 2014-15 to provide lower cost and convenient taxi services have started profiteering under the ambit of surge pricing.
He said in the last two weeks, cases came up to his notice that people paid up to Rs 2000 as fare for six minutes ride.
"This is outrageous and plain profiteering by these platforms," he said.
Citing a recently released public survey, which indicated that consumers from across the country are facing various issues with app-based taxi services like Uber and Ola, Mahajan said that people want surge pricing to be capped at not higher than 25 per cent across the country.
The survey also found that currently the apps levy a penalty when a customer cancels a ride but the same doesn't work the other way around.
He suggested that app taxis should not be permitted to apply surge pricing on the advance/scheduled bookings and urged to standardise the basic customer service and app features.
Noting that the ministry was in the process of framing the regulatory rules for app-based taxi aggregators under the Motor Vehicle Act 2019, Mahajan requested that the rules under Motor Vehicle Act 2019 are made keeping the above public interest in mind.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is considering allowing surge pricing to the extent of three times of normal fare, which has also been permitted in the guidelines issued by MoRTH in Dec 2016.
( With inputs from ANI )