Uber and Ola on Monday announced they will temporarily suspend surge pricing in Delhi, soon after the High Court issued a notice to the state government, seeking a response on the steps it is taking to stop taxi aggregators from charging fares arbitrarily. This comes after the Delhi government said it would take strict action against Uber and its rival Ola for hiking their rates to three times the normal amount when the capital's odd-even number license plate rule is enforced between 8 am and 8 pm, from April 15–30.
Commuters told Hindustan Times on Monday that they had to pay "astronomical rates" for Uber and Ola cabs during the odd-even rule because of "surge pricing", where the aggregators charge higher amounts at any time when they claim there is an increase in demand. The surge pricing can go up to as high as five times the normal fare. An official from one of the cab aggregators told Business Standard that the surge pricing is not controlled by them, but by an algorithm that automatically decides the price according to the demand at the time.
Uber released a statement on Monday after its decision to temporarily end surge pricing, and said "higher prices are required in order to get cars on the road and keep them on the road during the busiest times" since the company does not own cars or employ drivers itself. It also pointed out that customers are reminded that they are agreeing to surge pricing when they book cabs during the hours when prices are high.
Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai has asked commuters to register their complaints at 011-42400400, reported PTI. "If we receive complaints against arbitrariness of any app-based taxi service, we will impound their vehicles," Rai said. Fares for Ola and Uber are fixed at Rs 23 per km, and such radio taxi cabs can charge 25% extra as night fare, between 11 pm and 5 am.