Roadways

Ola, Uber surge pricing hits Karnataka wall

BENGALURU

The Karnataka government is in the process of drafting new guidelines for online taxi-hailing services. One of the key decisions is likely to involve abolishing peak-time surcharges levied by Ola, Uber and other operators.

Earlier this week, the Centre had directed that app-based taxi aggregators be treated as normal taxi operators and not as developers of any digital technology. Following this, the Karnataka government is now framing its own guidelines, which these operators will have to abide by. This would essentially mean that these online taxi services will have to follow the state’s City Taxi Service Scheme of 1998. The fresh guidelines are expected to be in place by October end.

During peak hours, which these companies define based on demand and supply, customers are charged up to seven times the actual ride cost. Speaking to FE, Karnataka transport commissioner Ramegowda said, “The online taxi service should adhere to the state government’s City Taxi Service Scheme of 1998, and follow the same pricing norms (fixed by the transport department) as others. They are already violating various provisions and we have been seizing at least 15 vehicles every day from these operators. Strict action would be taken against them for overcharging customers and also for arbitrary pricing.”

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