Uber starts campaign against Maharashtra draft rules, urges Mumbaikars to sign petition

Uber also said the stringent rules recommended by the government can threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers because the new, higher permit fees are prohibitively expensive for them

FP Staff October 26, 2016 18:03:18 IST

In response to Maharashtra state government's proposed draft rules on regulating the taxi-hailing app companies, Uber has kicked off a campaign seeking support from people in Mumbai.

The US-based taxi aggregator while highlighting its concerns said excessively high permit fees for drivers, requirement for more expensive cars, less fuel efficient cars and price restrictions, including mandatory minimum fares, will mean much higher fares and longer waiting times for a customer.

Uber starts campaign against Maharashtra draft rules urges Mumbaikars to sign petition

Reuters

"We understand that existing taxi and auto drivers are feeling the pressure from services like Uber. But the answer is to level the playing field by reducing today’s burdensome regulations - not to introduce rules that will be bad for riders, drivers and Mumbai," Uber said in a statement.

"The government needs to hear from you: riders should come first," the company statement said.

Uber, which is valued at a whopping $69 billion, further added that the stringent rules recommended by the government can threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers because the new, higher permit fees are prohibitively expensive for them.

The proposed rules want engine capacity of over 1400 cc for half of Uber's fleet of cars, besides increasing the price tags for permits to up to Rs 2.61 lakh. The rules also require Uber to deposit Rs 50 lakh per 1,000 vehicles, which the company thinks would make its business proposition unviable, the Economic Times report said earlier in the week.

Not just Maharashtra, the company is already facing similar issues in the state of Karnataka over the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules 2016, notified on 2 April.

The company had termed the Karnataka government's new regulations as "regressive" and "practically impossible to comply".

"(Uber) would be grateful if you can kindly direct the authorities concerned to look into our submissions on mandatory clauses, which are not only regressive, but also practically impossible to comply with," Uber had argued then.

Under the new rules, Karnataka mandated ride-hailing start-ups to provide digital printers, install panic buttons and have taxi signage on their vehicles.

Not just in India, Uber had earlier run-ins with regulators across the world like France and the US as it competes with local taxi operators.

After giving up on China a few months bank, Uber has been desperate to latch on to a big market like India.

In China, Uber couldn't stand up to the growing onslaught from the deep-pocketed Didi, prompting the former to eventually merge its business in the Dragon nation.

A recent Bloomberg report citing Uber said, "India will be crucial in terms of both demonstrating success in large international markets and long-term growth potential".

Valued at $5 billion, Ola claims it has 1 million rides a day on average and enjoys a market share of 70 percent of the country's cab app market.

As opposed to this, Uber says it has presence in 28 cities. It claims to have handled 5.5 million rides per week in August, the Bloomberg report said.

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