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Khatua committee proposes Happy hours for Ola and Uber in Maharashtra

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A four-member panel, appointed by the Maharashtra government to determine optimal fare structures for taxis, autos and cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber, has called for the introduction of ”Happy hours” between 12 pm to 4 pm everyday during which they can offer rides at discounted rates.

Khatua committee also included the outline of a telescopic fare structure, within the limits of the Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR), which could help in reducing tariffs of rides beyond 8 km in auto-rickshaws and Kaali Peeli taxis.

In case of ride-hailing services like Ola and Uber, the Khatua committee has proposed floor pricing and ceiling pricing ranging between Rs 14 to Rs 38. The base models will be allowed to charge Rs 14 to Rs 26, while midsize cars have rates of Rs 16 to 32 and premium cars will be allowed to charge Rs 16 to Rs 38.

Based on repeated representations from taxi and auto unions, Khatua committee has sought to create a level-playing field by offering autos and taxis the option of a flexible fare and at the same time, proposing limits on surges and dips in Ola and Uber’s pricing.

It has lowered entry barriers for aggregator cabs by doing away with obligations on engine capacity and diesel variants. But it has hiked the security deposit to be paid by aggregators and lowered the permit fees to be paid by their drivers.

Regarding fares for taxis and autos, the report has recommended a telescopic structure: ”There will be regular rates up to 8 km and reduction in 15 percent in the basic fare from distance of 8.1 km to 12 km and reduction of 20 percent for distance beyond 12 km.”

With the introduction of happy hour, discount is intended to attract more commuters using auto rickshaws and taxis in Mumbai. The panel said between 12 pm and 4 pm, taxi and auto fares could be discounted by 15 percent beyond the first 1.5 km.

The committee said that the new concept will turn lean hours to happy hours, mainly for women, housewives and senior citizens who does not have a particular time to go out. This will enable them to attract more people during that time while this will also create new travel pattern during that hours.

The committee has also introduced a common uniform for all the drivers with blue shirt and tie, black trousers and black shoes.

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