Taxi aggregators Ola and Uber have suspended surge pricing after Delhi government threatened to cancel permits for charging higher than prescribed fares.
On the fourth day of odd-even scheme run by Delhi government, passengers complained of difficulties in booking cabs as these platforms showed fares to be as high as five times than the normal charge.
The firms faced flak on social media with many commuters severely criticising taxi aggregators’ surge pricing.
There is also a petition on Change.org, a website for activist groups, against the surge pricing, which is a technique used to raise fares to provide drivers the incentive of keeping their cab running while also making it available for the user irrespective of the demand.
“However, given the threat of Delhi government to cancel permits and impound vehicles of our driver partners, we are temporarily suspending surge in Delhi with immediate effect. We hope to work with the government to keep Delhi moving, especially during this time when the citizens need us the most,” Uber India General Manager North Gagan Bhatia said.
He added the company “regularly does surge pricing when demand outstrips supply” and that higher prices are required to get cars on the road during the busiest times.
Ola said it has also “temporarily pulled out peak pricing in Delhi NCR, in support of government’s odd-even initiative”.
The firm added it has stationed volunteers at key traffic junctions, around metro stations and other high footfall areas across the city to engage and guide users towards suitable ride-sharing option.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned of “strict action” against app-based taxis including cancellation of permits and impounding of vehicles, for charging fares more than the rates prescribed by government.
“Strict action including permit cancellation and impounding of vehicles will be taken against app-based taxis which charge fares more than government-prescribed rates (sic),” Kejriwal had tweeted.