Ola, Uber rides set to get cheaper as Indian government caps surge fares

On November 27, the government capped the “surge price” asked by cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber in times of high demand to 1.5 times the base fare. It also restricted the discount offered by them to 50 percent of the base fare to limit fare volatility.

In states where the local government has not determined the taxi fare, Rs 25/30 shall be the base fare for regulation. The state government shall do a similar fixation for other vehicles integrated with aggregators. Like cabs, some companies also offer bike rides. The base fare varies from state to state.

These norms have been laid out in the 26-page Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines issued by the government on November 27 to define and regulate cab aggregators in the country.

In what may cheer drivers who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the government has mandated they get at least 80 percent of the income earned from a ride, with the remaining going into the kitty of the aggregator.

The ride-hailing firms will have to give Rs 5 lakh health insurance to their drivers and term insurance of Rs 10 lakh, with the amount going up 5 percent every year.

Drivers, too, will have to follow some norms. No driver will log out of the system for more than 12 hours and a 10- hour break is a must after clocking 12 hours.

Aggregators will have to ensure that drivers working for more than one company do not exceed the 12-hour workday. They have been asked to develop a mechanism on their apps to monitor the hours put in by drivers to ensure their safety and that of the passengers.

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