K'taka issues uniform fare for cab aggregators

Karnataka has notified a uniform fare structure for cabs, removing the distinction between those operated by ride-hailing services and by individual owners, seeking to simplify it for users.

The new system links the fare to the on-road price of the cab.

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The government has classified the cabs as those priced below Rs 10 lakh, between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh and above Rs 15 lakh. The first category cabs will collect a fare of Rs 100 for the first four km and Rs 24 per km thereafter, the second type will charge Rs 115 for first four km and Rs 28 per km after that, and the third ones will collect Rs 130 for the first four km and Rs 32 per km beyond that.

The latest fare structure supersedes the ones notified in February and April 2021 as the Transport department thought it appropriate to bring about a uniform fare system to remove any confusion.

“We were hearing complaints from cab users about different types of fares being collected. The new method that we have worked and notified will make it simpler for everyone. A uniform fare is applicable to all cabs whether it is tied to an aggregator or is operated by an individual,” Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy told ET.

The new fare system is applicable all over the state regardless of the nature of the place. “As for cab aggregators, we have allowed them to pass on the GST to customers,” the minister added. Cabs run by individual drivers, however, are exempt from GST.

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While city taxis typically followed a fare chart or metered fares, ride-hailing platforms showed an upfront fare while booking. Uber, Ola and Rapido are the major ride-hailing services in Bengaluru, and they had not responded to ET’s request for a comment as at the press time.

The new fare framework does not allow aggregators to charge surge pricing (time-of-the-day fare) as they offer dynamic fares, which fluctuate depending on the demand in a particular area and the availability of cabs. The February 3 notification clearly prohibits time-of-the-day fare except allowing the cabs to charge 10% extra on the notified fares from midnight to 6 am.

Sources within the cab aggregator industry said the move is likely to increase the fares for consumers.

“There are still some clarifications needed on this order for aggregators…especially on the subject of commission,” an executive working for a ride-hailing company, said.

The operators can collect additional charges for luggage. While the fee for luggage will be nil for up to 120 kg, customers will pay an additional Rs 7 for every 30 kg thereafter. The notification also allows a waiting fee of Re 1 for every one minute of wait beyond the first 5 minutes of free waiting time.

Harry Byrne

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