With local trains being inaccessible for most people and BEST buses running crammed, perforce aggregator cabs have become people’s mode of transport. However, smelling opportunity, app cabs such as Uber and Ola have silently gone ahead and raised their base fares by as much as 15-20 per cent for almost a week now. If there is a sliver of a silver lining in this for users, it is that travelling longer distances will be cheaper and also, the rate per minute is lower, which means the wait at traffic signals will weigh less heavy on the pocket.
Both Uber and Ola did not respond to the issue of the fare hike.
According to sources in the RTO, the aggregators were driven to hike the base fares because of the pressure from driver unions, who have been complaining about rising fuel costs and the drop in their earnings.
As per the revised rates as shared by the driver unions which Ola has apparently sent, the base fare has gone up from Rs 60 to Rs 75 in the mini category and from Rs 70 to Rs 100 in the prime category. Likewise, Uber has increased base fares to Rs 70 during peak and off-peak hours, from Rs 54 and Rs 43 respectively, for its UberGo category, while the base fares for its premier category has increased to Rs 100 from Rs 65 and Rs 58.50 for peak and off-peak hours, respectively.
“I booked an Uber from Kandivli to Andheri and was surprised to see higher fares. I thought that it was surcharge, until the driver said that fares had increased,” said Andheri resident Yash Shah.
The good part however, is that long distance travel will be cheaper, as Uber fares for 15 kms and more has dropped from Rs 10.60 to Rs 10 for their UberGo category. In the premier category, there is a 50- paise drop in fares for journeys over 15 kms. The peak-hour fare per minute has reduced to Rs 1.80 from the earlier Rs 2.08, while in off-peak hours, the rate has dropped from Re 0.80 from Rs 1.04 per minute. In the premier category, there is a marginal drop of 10 paise in peak hours and an off-peak hour drop of 90 paise.
Similarly, if one travels more than 30 kilometres by an Ola Mini, they will pay Rs 10, instead of Rs 15 per km, and for an Ola Prime, Rs 13 instead of Rs 16 per km. The rate per minute that is usually chargeable when the cab is stuck in traffic has also come down for Ola - the Mini rates are Re 1 per minute from the earlier Rs 1.25 and for an Ola Prime, it’s Rs 1.20 now from the earlier Rs 1.25 per minute.
“It is nothing but hogwash. With trains not available for all, people are taking aggregator cabs and so vehicular traffic has gone up. So, the wait period increases, as do long-distance journeys,” said Anand Kute, aggregator driver union leader.