Amidst complaints of taxi aggregators charging exorbitant fares, the Transport Department on Friday carried out a drive against Ola, Uber and other operators. Transport Commissioner T.H.M. Kumar told The Hindu that 292 cases have been booked for charging excess fares.
The drive was carried out at various places such as Anand Rao Circle, Majestic, KSR-Bengaluru railway station, Jayanagar bus stand, Hennur cross road, Devanahalli road near Kempegowda International Airport and others.
The officials have maintained that action has been taken against the aggregators following complaints from the general public. It is said that some of the passengers even sent out email complaints to the Chief Minister and other top functionaries in the government seeking action.
“General public has been complaining that aggregators such as Ola and Uber are charging excess fares. In the past, the State government had fixed fares that are applicable for the taxi aggregators. They have to fix the fare as per the slab fixed by the government and cannot take passengers for a ride,” said the commissioner.
In the city, passengers relying on taxis are complaining that there has been a steep rise in the fares charged by the aggregators. Vidya Kumari said, “It has been months, travelling in the city has become too expensive. There were instances of apps showing up to ₹100 for a three kilometer stretch. Long distance travel to airport and others has become very expensive.”
Another passenger Gurumurthy said, “Booking a taxi ride from or to the bus stand or the airport is becoming very expensive. The waiting time is too long compared to previous years. There were several instances of drivers not switching on AC during the ride and from the airport, the taxi drivers illegally charge toll fee without taking the toll road.”
Joint Commissioner K.T. Halaswamy said that for the first offence of charging an excess fare penalty of ₹500 is imposed on the drivers. “We will also serve notices asking the taxi aggregators seeking their response. Based on their reply, the department will take further action.”
On other hand, the drivers say their earnings remained the same despite the hike in fares. Krishna Kumar a driver said, “After the pandemic, due to financial difficulties thousands of drivers ended up losing their vehicles after failing to pay the loan. This has resulted in a drastic drop in the number of operational taxis. Though aggregators have increased the fare, we are not benefited. For each trip over 30% commission is charged. We are not in a position to meet fuel expenses, maintenance and other living expenses. On top of this, the department has illegally allowed bike taxis to operate. This has a more adverse impact on taxi and auto drivers in the city.”