Cab rides may cost more if govt. fixes minimum fares

State yet to act on Transport Department report seeking minimum fares

Aggregator cab fares, which have been on the rise, are set to further increase when the State government acts on a report submitted by the Transport Department seeking the fixing of minimum fares for taxis based on their recommendations.

The report, which classifies taxis into five categories based on the cost of acquiring the car, seeks to help drivers earn a minimum fare from passengers so that they can continue to operate without falling into a financial crunch. According to government sources, the new fares based on the report will be notified soon.

Decreased earnings as aggregators drop prices to attract customers has been a long-standing complaint of drivers. They say their earnings have massively dropped since they signed up to drive for the aggregators a few years ago.

According to sources, the report, prepared after consultations with drivers, companies and a study by the Transport Department, recommends minimum and maximum fares for five categories of vehicles. These are most likely to be in the mini, sedan, SUV, luxury and one more category.

Transport Commissioner B. Dayananda said that more details could not be divulged at the moment. “The file is with the government for approval currently. There are five categories of vehicles and they are based on the cost of the vehicle,” he said. However, he did not share what the prices and categories were. Other sources who attended the public meeting held by the department said that the rates for the mini category were likely to be between ₹12.5 and ₹35 while sedan class taxis could charge between ₹15 and ₹45 per km. SUV rates were likely to be around ₹18.5 per km with a upper limit of around ₹50.

Currently, there are no fixed fares being followed by aggregators. This is a cause of complaint for both drivers and passengers. In the past two months, prices have seen a steady rise, regular users say. “While fares might be low during offers and certain times of the day, they have gone up for those who commute during fixed times during the morning and evening peak hours,” said Siddhartha Prakash, a resident of K.R. Puram.

Central rules

However, the notification might clash with the Central Motor Vehicles’ Amendment Bill, 2016, if it is passed by the Rajya Sabha where it is currently tabled, according to operators.

“The Central bill speaks of competitive fares and passenger convenience. If it is passed, the State government’s move to fix minimum fares might not work,” said Radhakrishna Holla, president, Bangalore Tourist Taxi Operator’s Association (BTTOA).

New clauses

The bill, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha and was referred to a select committee in the Rajya Sabha in the monsoon session, is being pushed aggressively by the Union government.

The bill seeks to insert clauses in sections related to the powers of the State government to fix fares adding the phrases ‘promoting effective competition’, ‘passengers’ convenience’, ‘economically competitive fares’.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:30:28 PM |

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