Uber has suspended surge pricing in Karnataka in return for which the government will not impound the company’s cabs, reports Economic Times. The temporary truce was called during a hearing at the Karnataka High Court, challenging the state’s transport rules. We have asked Uber for a statement, and will update when we hear back.
The temporary agreement will be valid for three weeks, however, cab drivers violating the fare schedule will still have their cars impounded. Note that cab drivers also petitioned in the High Court for a change in the rules, arguing that they provided services based on the license granted by the Government, and the role of companies like Uber and Ola was limited to aggregation.
Speaking to MediaNama, M Manjunath of Bangalore’s Adarsha taxi union had said that, “The companies first need to talk to us and only then can we figure out what to do. The drivers work very hard and put even 16-18 hours shifts sometimes but the RTO seizing the cars is not good for us. It began when companies started asking customers to pay more, like 1.3X or 1.8X, during peak hours and ever since then we have been penalised and our cars have been taken away. The RTO is catching the drivers and filing cases against them. The drivers don’t know about the increase in fares when you make the booking and that’s why we, the Union are supporting them and asking RTO file such cases against the companies.” Read more here.
The Karnataka Government had started impounding some Ola and Uber vehicles for charging their users over the government decided rate of Rs 19.5/km, after banning surge pricing in the state. The Maharashtra government had also released a draft policy last year, capping surge pricing and the number of cars on each platform in Mumbai.
Delhi surge pricing: Uber’s move comes on the heels of it capping fares at rates fixed by the government in Delhi last month. The month before, Ola and Uber had suspended surge pricing in Delhi following a government warning that it would take strict action, including impound cabs and cancellation of permits, against those who would flout government rules.
The same month, hyperlocal delivery and auto rickshaw aggregator Jugnoo suspended its surge pricing in Delhi from 22-30 April “grudgingly, bowing down to government policies.” It’s worth noting that, Delhi’s CM Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted that surge pricing would not be allowed even after the second odd-even project (15-30 April) was complete.
Halt in bike taxi service: Last month, Uber said that it had “paused” its UberMOTO bike taxi service in Bangalore. In its statement, the company says that it will to share the findings of the pilot, which was launched in Bangalore in March this year. Note that, UberMOTO remains operations in Gurgaon, where it was launched towards the end of March. Uber had called this a pilot as well, which was launched in agreement with the memorandum of understanding it signed with the Haryana government to introduce ridesharing services in the state in the same month.