Uber

Uber has emailed its Mumbai users asking them to sign a petition and send feedback to the transport department of Maharashtra, which is seeking comments on its newly released draft of Maharashtra City Taxi Rules, 2016 (our take). The government is seeking comments till 5th of November, after which it will finalise and bring into effect the new rules for app based cab aggregators.

Uber’s email titled “Support Uber in Mumbai” details that if the suggested rules are adopted, “they will mean an end to the Uber you know and love today.” It adds that the rules have high permit fees for drivers, requirement for more expensive and less fuel efficient cars and price restrictions which will lead to “much higher fares and longer waiting times.” As of now, over 54,000 people have signed the petition whose goal is a 100,000 signatures.

Uber also wrote to the CM of Maharashtra saying that the above reasons were unviable and would mean higher costs and wait times for its users. In fact, earlier this month, Amit Jain, Uber’s India president called for deregulation of the app-based transport industry in India.

This is not the first time Uber has asked its users to sign a petition. Last September, the company launched a petition when the Maharashtra government came out with the City Taxi Scheme 2015 guidelines, gathering over 72,000 signatures. In 2014, it had launched a petition when the government banned online cab aggregators from plying in the state (a case history here).

Traditional taxi operators want heavy regulation

Meanwhile, the Association of Radio Taxis (AoRT), which includes companies like Mega Cabs, Easy Cabs and Meru Cabs, has recommended that the Delhi government treat all taxi operators as the same, regulate fares, stop predatory pricing, not have AITP permits among others before the government finalises its guidelines.

MagicSewa petition against surge pricing

Note that MagicSewa, an online cab aggregator, has filed a petition against Uber and Ola’s surge pricing, stating that according to the Motor Vehicles Act, the government has to ensure that there is no uneconomic competition between permit holders. Details from Magic Sewa’s petition.

***

Text of Uber’s email:

Dear (user),

The Government of Maharashtra last week proposed new rules for apps like Uber. If adopted, they will mean an end to the Uber you know and love today. The proposal includes: excessively high permit fees for drivers; a requirement for more expensive cars, less fuel efficient cars; and price restrictions, including mandatory minimum fares. This will mean much higher fares and longer waiting times for you – the rider.

The government needs to hear from you: riders should come first.

SIGN THE PETITION

The proposed rules also threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers because the new, higher permit fees are prohibitively expensive for them. We understand that existing taxi and auto 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 Mumbai.

Make your voice heard – sign the petition and email your feedback to the Maharashtra Government.

#UberMovesMumbai

**

The email sent to the government:

Mailto: feedback.tptmh@gov.in

Subject: I support Uber in Mumbai

The proposed rules by the Government of Maharashtra will mean higher prices and longer wait times for riders like me. They will also threaten the livelihood of thousands of hard working drivers. I understand that existing taxi and auto 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 Mumbai.

***

Also read: ZipGo launches petition to help reinstate service