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Update: Uber Delhi has tweeted saying that it has removed surge pricing temporarily with immediate effect in the city, because of the ‘threat to the livelihood of its drivers’.

Earlier today: Delhi’s CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that the government would take “strict action, including cancellation of permit and impounding vehicles” against taxis which charged over the government prescribed rates. Yesterday, Kejriwal said that the government had received complaints against Ola and Uber and was planning strong action against them, but the announcement would be made later (timeline not mentioned).

This was in a response to the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh and Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, which called off their strikes against online cab aggregators yesterday. Supposedly, these two unions make up a lion’s share of the autorickshaw and taxi drivers in Delhi-NCR. The strike was withdrawn after the Delhi Government said that it would ‘fulfil the demands of the unions’. An ET report states that the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh had called the strike stating that Ola and Uber’s business was eating into the businesses of other taxis by ‘underpricing taxi services’.

Note that the Karnataka government has already seized cars from online cab aggregators Ola and Uber for charging their users over the government decided rate of Rs 19.5/km. Earlier this month, the Karnataka government banned surge pricing, as a part of its rules for online cab aggregators in the state.

Also read: Why surge pricing is only one of Uber’s troubles

Currently, the fares for autos and black and yellow taxis in the Delhi NCR region are:

delhi taxi auto fares

Incidentally, a notification (pdf) found on the Delhi government’s website seems to actually reduce the fares for autos and black and yellow taxis, possibly come into effect from June 2016. For autos, this is going to be Rs 19 for the first 2 kms, and Rs 6.5 per km after that. Night charges (11PM to 5AM) are 25% of the fare and waiting charges are Rs 30 per hour. For black and yellow taxis, the fare is Rs 20 for the first km and Rs 13 per km after that for AC taxis and Rs 11 per km for non AC taxis. Night and waiting charges are the same as those for autos.

Also read: Carpooling high during Delhi’s Jan odd-even rule as public transport bottlenecks

MediaNama’s take: Impounding vehicles is not going to stop cab aggregators from charging higher than government approved rates. Meanwhile, the government could also concentrate on the fact that autorickshaw drivers charge fares on a whim, regardless of the meter, which anyone who has ever taken an auto will tell you that they hardly use. The other problem of refusal of ride to certain areas also exists across India, almost forcing commuters to take other options.

Previous strikes and violent incidents:

– In August 2015, Uber said that its cabs were being damaged, drivers assaulted and mobile phones being taken away by groups of people who wanted to shut down aggregator services in Pune and Mumbai.

– Two months before that, Mumbai taxi drivers and auto rickshaws went on strike protesting against apps like Ola and Uber. A TOI report from June 2015 stated that as many as 150 cabs were damaged in violence and incidents of regular cabs overcharging were reported after cab aggregators did not ply their cabs in the city.

– In the same month, Zoomcar issued an advisory to its users after the taxi union of Leh-Ladakh started damaging cars and threatening users of self-drive cars from entering the area.

Also read: Scroll’s Uber and other cabs might claim to be cheaper than autos. But are they really?

Image Credit: Stolbovsky under CC BY SA 3.0