Over the weekend, American taxi aggregator Uber stated that it will cap surge pricing during peak hours in West Bengal. This statement came in response to a set of 30 questions that the West Bengal government had raised about Uber's exorbitant fares. Uber has said that it will cap the surge multiplier at 2.9x the base fare, in West Bengal.
The state transport department had taken up the issue after it received over 100 complaints against both Uber and its Indian rival, Ola, stating that the companies were charging absurd fares even for short distances.
According to reports, the WB government asked the companies to divulge their fare policies.
Confirming the information to News18, Bengal transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said, "We have sent letters to Ola and Uber asking them about their fare policies. This was done after we received complaints that they are charging higher fares compared to distances."
"We have asked to reply them within 15 days and our future course of action will be taken based on their response. They have to justify their fares since there is a sudden increase in complaints from people across the city and its suburbs," he added.
The department sent a 30 point questionnaire to both companies, asking them to justify their fares. Ola has not made any statement so far, but Uber has offered to bring in "self-regulation" of dynamic pricing, to minimize the impact on riders, reports said.
"During periods when there is a high imbalance in the availability of Ubers vis-a-vis the number of people requesting a ride, we propose to self-regulate the dynamic pricing multiplier between 1.9x to 2.9x to minimise impact on riders," Regional GM (India & South Asia) Prabhjeet Singh said.
"We have also made some suggestions to the government, around simplifying processes and costs for bike-taxi permits as well as commercial four wheeler permits, introducing more schemes like Gatidhara to spur entrepreneurship and suggested deregulation of city taxis to equip them with the benefits of technology," Singh said.