Will drop in kaali peeli rides mean a rise in surcharges of app-based aggregators?

Kaali peeli — rickshaw and taxi — drivers who are largely migrant workers are fleeing the city of dreams. This means there will be a drop in the number of rides that will be available once the lockdown is lifted. Thus, giving more power to cab aggregators like Ola and Uber.

With an aim to attract more drivers to join these aggregators, these online services may increase surcharges, which might pinch the customer.

Every business has its model of making money. In the case of app-based ride aggregators, the pricing model has five components that are base fare; per km ride distance charges; ride time charges; surge/peak time charges and taxes. The local auto-rickshaws and taxis have base fare, night fare and waiting fare.

Many kaali peeli lately have understood the rise in demand for Ola and Uber rides which is why there has been a rise in many kaali peeli opting for revamping their ride with air conditioning or fan or WiFi or other services in their ride to get a loyal customer, or simple way is join the aggregator.

According to 2018 data, the number of aggregator cabs has now more than doubled in Mumbai metropolitan region alone. In MMR, for every kaali peeli cabs there are three app-based cabs operating. According to reports, Maharashtra has nearly 75,000 black and yellow cabs and over 1 million auto rickshaws.

In March, the Maharashtra government decided to set the upper cap for the fares of app-based cabs of aggregators. A Government Resolution (GR) stated that aggregators are allowed to surge their base fare up to three times. This decision of the state government was based on the Khatua panel recommended to fix the base fare between Rs 14 and Rs 16 per km for three categories of aggregator cabs — regular, mid-sized and premium. However, the upper limit for pricing recommended for regular, mid-sized and premium cabs are Rs 26, Rs 32, and Rs 38 per km, respectively.

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