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Uber says Maharashtra taxi rules ‘unviable’; suggests open pricing

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Uber has written to the Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra, stating that it welcomes the move to segregate guidelines for app-based taxis in the state, but some of the rules in the proposed Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2016 would hurt its business in the state.

Note that these suggestions are not Uber’s submission in response to the rules, just suggestions it has sent across to Fadnavis. MediaNama has a copy of the letter and here are the points Uber raises:
Restrictions over engine capacity: Since over half of the fleet of cars under ridesharing apps should have engine capacity of over 1400 cc, “more economical and fuel efficient cars will be pushed out from the platform” and take away driver flexibility and choice, forcing them to buy more expensive cars which will drive up fare prices.
Steep price tags for permits: Permit prices of Rs 25,000 to Rs 261,000 will restrict drivers from joining its platform, result in higher wait times and increased fares for users. The requirement to deposit Rs 50 lakh for every 1,000 vehicles will make “business unviable.”
Pricing restrictions: “A price floor will prevent us from offering affordable services and a cap on pricing will make the service unreliable due to higher wait times,” it said in its letter.

Further, it mentions that “existing taxi drivers are feeling the pressure from services like Uber, but the answer is to level the playing field by reducing today’s burdensome regulations – not to introduce rules that will be bad for riders, drivers and Maharashtra.”

Waiting for innovation regulation is time consuming: Uber

Note that earlier this month, Amit Jain, Uber’s India president called for deregulation of the app-based transport industry in India saying,

“I urge the government that let’s not put onerous regulations that might have existed before. Let’s deregulate and make it a level playing field for everybody… To wait for regulations to change before innovations to happen, it is a much longer time period than bringing innovation to technology and then bringing regulators along.”

Traditional taxi association asks for stricter regulation

At the same time, the Association of Radio Taxis (AoRT), an association representing transportation radio taxis, suggested regulating the industry (for Delhi) to include online cab aggregators. The body said asked for a uniform law in the city, price caps on fares, no predatory pricing, minimum fare not lower than direct or indirect cost, change in taxi categorisation based on engine capacity and state domicile for drivers.

The Maharashtra government has been working on the City Taxi Scheme 2015 for a year now and the 2016 rules are basically an upgrade of the same, stating that there’d be no surge pricing, limited number of cars on the platform among other regulations.

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