NEW DELHI: To check surge pricing by app-based taxis aggregators like Uber and Ola during peak hours, a high level government appointed panel has recommended capping of fares by authorities.
The committee under Rajasthan Transport Minister Yunoos Khan called for liberalizing city taxi permit scheme. Other issues dealt by them include exploring possibility to use CSR funds for helping accidents victims and accidental insurance for drivers.
“They (aggregators) should follow the rules relating to fares, fuel and safety as mandated by transport department. Upper cap for the fares be fixed by transport department," the panel recommended in its interim report.
Taxi aggregators have faced criticism for excessive charging of fares during peak hours in the name of surge pricing.
The panel consisting of transport ministers of many states were of the view that aggregators may be permitted but they have to aggregate only those taxis which have legally valid permits.
Improving parking facilities for taxis and other public transport vehicles by reserving atleast 20 percent space in public parking lots and promoting low-cost last mile connectivity solutions that include allowing e-rickshaws and two wheeler taxis as they are safe and low cost solutions for the passengers are also recommended by the panel.
The panel was formed for framing stricter traffic and road safety rules under the new road safety bill with a view to check road accidents which claim over 1.46 lakh lives every year in the country.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) advocated higher compensation in case of accidents that include accidental insurances for drivers in third-party insurance and rationalisation of insurance provisions in accident cases besides covering loss to property in cases of accidents.
After failing to push new Road Safety Bill in Parliament, the Centre had constituted the GOM for further consultation and reaching a consensus on stricter traffic rules.
The ministers' panel has already recommended jail of up to a year in addition to a penalty of Rs 10,000 for those driving with fake licenses from the present Rs 500 and a maximum jail term of three months.
In case of juvenile drivers, the owner of the vehicle or the driver's guardian will face stricter penalties of up to three years in jail and fine of up to Rs 20,000, while their vehicle registration certificate may also be cancelled.