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Besides fares, cab aggregators free to charge extra for GST, toll

With app-based aggregators implementing the new structure announced by the transport department, cab rides may be costlier now. The notification made changes from the earlier fixed fare for the first 4km. For Class B vehicles (Rs 10 lakh to Rs 16 lakh), it has been reduced from Rs 68 to Rs 64. For Class C vehicles (Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh), it is down from Rs 52 to Rs 48. However, the first 4km fares for Class A (Rs 16 lakh and above) and Class D (up to Rs 5 lakh) are unchanged. Transport commissioner B Dayananda said the department will check apps and start field inspections from Thursday to ensure compliance. Commuters are unhappy that they have to pay a minimum of Rs 44 for small cabs (vehicle costing below Rs 5 lakh) and Rs 80 for luxury cars (above Rs 16 lakh) for the first 4km. The new fare structure has classified vehicles into four categories based on the cost of the models. It replaces the earlier tariff which prescribed no minimum fare, but capped the maximum fare at Rs 14 per km for non-AC and Rs 19.5 per km for AC vehicles. Aggregators can collect additional charges like GST and toll fee from passengers. The notification mentions that no fare shall be collected on the basis of time. “Only fares on the basis of distance travelled shall be levied on the passengers,” says the new rule. It also stated that waiting charge will be free for the first 20 minutes and subsequently Rs 10 per 15 minutes. “No hidden charges shall be levied other than the fare charges notified by the government,” it added. Minimum and maximum fares apply to cabs in the city and also within the 25km radius of BBMP limits. Ola was unavailable for comment. “Uber has implemented the category-wise minimum and maximum fare caps notified by the government. The upfront fares are calculated using an algorithm that takes into consideration the expected distance of the trip, local traffic patterns, demand and supply at a given location. We’re able to use past data to estimate the likely cost of the trip and can present that price to a rider before they request for a ride,” said an Uber spokesperson. Cab commuters clueless While cab operators are yet to mention minimum and maximum fares of the four vehicle categories on apps, they continuetocharge commuters also on minutes spent on travel, which has been done away in the latest revision. Also with cap on fares still ambiguous, commuters are increasingly paying surge fares. “Earlier, it was easier to check whether we were overcharged as the fare was Rs 19.5 per km for AC vehicles. Now, there are four categories of vehicles and each has minimum and maximum charges. How do they expect us to remember these rates?” said Deepika S, a regular passenger. “There was no need to fix a minimum charge as it’ll increase fares and people will use private vehicles,” she added. Dayananda said they are talking to cab aggregators to provide minimum and maximum fares of the four categories on their respective apps. “We’ll ensure they don’t charge commuters on time spent on travel,” he said. Sources say the department is unlikely to take action against aggregators if they charge less than minimum fare. “We can take action only if drivers come forward with complaints,” an official said. “We’re struggling to pay our EMIs because of reduced earnings. Some drivers have sold their vehicles to pay their debts. Initially, cab operators promisedRs1 lakh a monthbut now it’s less than Rs 40,000 a month.” says K Manjunath, a cab driver. “We don’t know whether cab companies will ensure minimum earnings for each ride,” he said.

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