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New Delhi: App-based taxi aggregators Ola and Uber on Monday decided to temporarily do away with their peak-pricing policy.

“We’ve temporarily pulled out peak pricing in Delhi, in support of Govt’s #OddEven initiative. Travel at 1x fares & make #OddEven a success," Ola (run by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) said in a tweet.

Gagan Bhatia, general manager-north at Uber India, said while the company “regularly does surge pricing when demand outstrips supply... given the threat of the Delhi government to cancel permits and impound vehicles of our driver partners, we are temporarily suspending surge in Delhi with immediate effect."

Peak or surge pricing is a technique used by Uber and Ola to raise fares to provide drivers the incentive to keep their cabs running while also making them available to the user irrespective of demand.

The action came after the Delhi government ordered the transport department to take strict action, including cancellation of permits and impounding of vehicles, against taxis and app-based cabs found charging fares more than the prescribed rates. The government also notified the prescribed fares for all types of taxi services—economy radio taxis, non-AC and AC black-and-yellow taxis and radio taxis.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi high court issued a notice to the Delhi government in a plea against app-based taxi aggregators.

A private individual moved the court alleging that taxi aggregators were adding to the woes of commuters during the second phase of the Delhi government’s odd-even road rationing scheme.

The scheme, which began on 15 April, will continue till the end of the month. Under the scheme, cars with licence plates ending in an odd number are allowed to run on odd dates while those with even numbers are allowed to do so on even dates.

“Some cab players are even charging up to 250 per kilometer and the government is doing nothing about it," the petitioner told the court.

Justice J.R. Midha asked the government to take steps to mitigate inconvenience to passengers. “When people are suffering, the government cannot wash its hands (of the problem)."

The Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006 fixes guidelines for operation of taxis. Ola and Uber have claimed in court that they are not governed by the scheme as they are merely aggregators and not individual taxi operators.

The case will be heard next on 25 April.

“If any taxi is found to be overcharging, we will take strict action," Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai said.

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