The Maharashtra government told the Bombay high court that it will be deciding to fix both minimum and maximum fares for app-based taxi companies such as Ola and Uber, as per this Press Trust of India (PTI) report. The state government that it would take the recommendations of an expert committee in the Nagpur assembly session.

In October, a four-member panel submitted their recommendations for fares for black-and-yellow taxis, auto rickshaws, and app-based taxis, as per this Mint report. For app-based taxi companies, the minimum starting fare has been recommended at Rs 14 and maximum at Rs 38 and also suggested a cap on surge pricing. These recommendations are in addition to the draft City Taxi Rules in October 2016.

Note that the draft City Taxi Rules had recommended that the government should prescribe minimum and maximum fares. In March, the state government fixed the minimum fares for app-based taxis.

Note that Uber had opposed some parts of the City Taxi Rules and wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in October 2016. Uber asked for an open pricing regime where there are no upper limits of the fares companies can charge its users for transportation from point A to B. “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 to the government. 

MediaNama’s take

Fixing fare structure for app-based taxis is to be going to be crucial for their drivers. This year, there has been a spate of protests across the country as drivers have been demanding better incentive structures as their earnings have started falling. The fare structure decided will be crucial for maintaining the profitability of companies such as Ola and Uber while also ensuring that drivers’ earnings are not hit.

The situation had turned dire for some drivers. The drivers said that they are not able to make their ends meet or pay EMIs for their car loans. In February, we saw the first instance where an Ola driver tried to kill himself by consuming poison in a strike in Bangalore.