File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers – an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files (GERMANY – Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

Prominent cab aggregators Ola and Uber have faced massive criticism against certain parts of their operations during the past few months. In September last year, a consumer petition asking for remission against surge pricing was filed against Ola parent ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Uber India Systems Pvt. Ltd. and Serendipity Infolabs Pvt Ltd, which used to run TaxiForSure before its merger with Ola.

The petition was filed in favor of consumers, whose pockets were affected due to surge pricing charged from them at peak traveling hours. It sought a refund of over Rs 9,239 crore (approx $1.38 billion) as an excess amount, allegedly charged by Ola and Uber cab aggregation apps.

The petition filed by NGO ‘Nyaybhoomi’ has today been dismissed by Apex Consumer Commission on grounds of being non-maintainable. The said decision was taken by a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench of Justice K S Chaudhari. The ruling which is inclined towards the cab aggregators comes as a relief among other ongoing tussles.

Filed last year, the petition claimed that even after surge pricing was banned by the Delhi High Court, travelers were being charged extra for their rides. Ola, Uber and other ride-hailing giants were charging unreasonable fares in the name of surge pricing than the amount notified by state governments. The petition approximated a penalty of Rs 9239 crore from the cab operators for the excessive pricing charged in the past three years. The NGO further said the petition has been recorded on behalf of all concerned customers across the country.

Back in August, the Transport Ministry in-hand with the government drafted a new set of policies for cab aggregators in the whole country. The government has now defined a maximum cap to monitor the surge pricing for cab aggregators Ola and Uber. The long-lasting debate of surge pricing, fare fixation, the safety of passengers and the methods used to define the fares were finally fixed through these guidelines. The government also introduced policies to help reduce entry barriers and make it easy for drivers to join these platforms.

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