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Delhi High Court gives 10 days to taxi service providers to end surge pricing
Coming down heavily on cab operators, including app-based taxi services for charging more than the government approved rates, the Delhi High Court has ordered that such pricing is illegal.

For this, the bench granted the operators a time of 10 days to modify their softwares but also made it clear that it will not allow further delay by them.

The bench made it clear that the operators cannot charge more than the rates that are approved by the Delhi government.

Ola's advocates, Vijay Sondhi and Gurpreet Singh Kahlon gave an undertaking in the court asserting that the cab operator has stopped charging surge fares from passengers.

The Centre's standing counsel, Manish Mohan informed the court that in order to draft a comprehensive regulation at pan India level, the transport ministry has set up the panel on May 25 to address licence issues of taxis and aggregators.

The bench then asked the special committee to consult a draft policy being prepared by the Delhi government for regulating aggregators, give a proper hearing to all stakeholders and file a final report in three months. The court also ordered the committee to include one senior official each from the information technology ministry, Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Traffic Police to devise a holistic policy. It also recommended that the panel seek help from a transport expert in Niti Aayog.

Under the Delhi government's radio taxi scheme, fare for economy radio taxis is Rs 12.50 per km, while it is Rs 14 per km for non-AC black-and-yellow top taxis, Rs 16 per km for AC black-and-yellow top taxis and Rs 23 per km for radio taxis. Additional night charge or 25 per cent of the fare is applicable between 11 pm and 5 am.

Delhi governmnet had alleged that when it had launched the odd-even scheme, Ola & Uber had charged customers up to five or six times of the regular fare.

One of the pleas had alleged, "Attracting a prospective passenger with a published fare as low as Rs 5 per km but charging the passenger as high as Rs 38 per km in the name of 'peak time charge' or 'surge pricing' is downright misleading, mischievous and cheating".

In another development, the Delhi government also said the aggregators will have to install fare meters. This comes in the backdrop of the Cabinet approving the Motor Vehicle Act of 2016 (MVA). The new MVA requires app-based cab operators to take agggregator's license. They will also be required to comply with city rules in the city taxi rules including having only CNG taxis in Delhi & Mumbai.

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