The government is likely to come up with a fresh set of guidelines for cab aggregators with an aim to protect consumer interest and ensure that passenger complaints are well addressed in time.
According to highly-placed sources, “consumer affairs ministry is of a view to set SOPs for addressing grievances of passengers, set timeline for grievance redressal. These guidelines will be in addition to already existing protocols issued by the roads ministry and state transport departments".
Online cab aggregators currently follow state transport department guidelines, which are based on the over arching policy issued by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. These existing guidelines enlist basic registration requirements, passenger safety and grievances redressal measures to be followed by online cab aggregators.
“The said guidelines which will soon be prepared by the consumer affairs ministry will then be shared with roads ministry and state transport departments for better implementation and enforcement,” the sources added.
What the guidelines will focus on:
Sources said that the consumer affairs ministry is of a view that in absence of clear guidelines, cab aggregators get a leeway to not address consumer complaints, the way they are supposed to be treated.
“Guidelines will make it mandatory for aggregators to redress consumer complaints in a stipulated timeline. Guidelines will also prescribe methodology for cancellation of ride, cancellation charges, drivers' response to passengers on cancellation of ride, drivers' payment structure addition to road ministry approved mechanism,” said the sources.
According to the sources, the new policy will also look at removing disparity between fares for frequent and non-frequent travelers and will be based on the practices used and mandated in Europe and US for setting a structure of minimum service standards.
However, these guidelines will be put out after consultations with stakeholders.
The move comes as the consumer affairs ministry has been receiving several complaints.
“The idea is to have guidelines which will be filling in the existing gaps in the roads ministry and state transport department guidelines, based on consumer protection rights and consumer interest,” added the sources.
As per the sources, the government is in favour of setting basic service standards, which will be made mandatory for cab aggregators to continue their operations in the country.
Last week, the ministry had written to online cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber to submit operation details, fare pricing algorithm, drivers payment structure by May 10.