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Draft Maharashtra City Taxi Rules strike at the heart of our business, says Uber

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App-based taxi aggregator Uber has raised strong objection against the state government’s proposal in the draft Maharashtra City Taxi Rules 2016 with regard to the minimum and maximum limit for rates of fare saying that the pricing should be based on economic models of demand and supply, and not determined by regulations. Uber in its representation to the government argued that cap on the minimum amount that can be charged for a trip, preventing market forces determining lower fares when possible.

Uber so far received support from 1.18 lakh riders to its online petition against some rules. The petition states the inconvenience that the regulations pose, to riders in the city who choose services like Uber due to their seamless facility and affordability.

Uber (Mumbai) general manager Shailesh Sawlani told Business Standard,”The state government has proposed regulations that govern the ridesharing industry. We welcome this recognition of the industry and role that technology and innovation should play in addressing the mobility needs of the state. However, certain elements of the draft risk the very progress we have made in making life better for riders, drivers and the city itself.” He insisted that there should be less regulation in order to continue to provide reliable and quality service to commuters.

On the government’s proposal that more that 50% of the vehicles on the ride-sharing platforms be over 1400cc, Sawlani said it would mean economical and fuel efficient vehicles will disappear from the platform. ”It also takes away the freedom and flexibility of drivers to have the vehicle of their choice, forcing them to buy more expensive cars which will in turn increase fares. Cars above 1400cc will be more expensive for driver partners to buy and join the platform,” he noted.

Further, Sawlani also raised concerns over the government’s move to prescribe the permit fees of Rs 2.61 lakh for cars above 1400cc. ”Driver partners would be unable to afford high permit fees and hence will not be able to drive on the platform. This will also create barriers to accessing economic opportunities for drivers,” he opined.

”Taken together, these moves strike at the heart of our promise of ensuring affordable and convenient rides to Mumbaikars whenever possible. They jeopardize the benefits ridesharing bring, in terms of reduced congestion,” Sawlani said.

When contacted the state transport department official said it will carefully look into the suggestions and objections made by Uber on the draft Maharashtra City Taxi Rules.

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