New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Delhi-based cab aggregator Ola says it had “erroneously calculated toll charges” in some cases and has stepped in to reverse the amount charged from some customers.
This was in response to an IANS story earlier in the day, which said that even as the Delhi government had cracked down on app-based taxi aggregators for “surge pricing”, Ola had been overcharging customers by deducting higher toll or state tax during a ride from Delhi to Noida or in the reverse direction.
In an email sent to IANS, Anand Subramanian, Marketing and Communications Head of Ola said: “Based on customer feedback regarding a minor addition of toll on certain instances in Delhi NCR, we have reviewed all trip data from the recent past. We found a few genuine cases of erroneously calculated toll charges on certain rides and have initiated refund to all genuine and eligible customers.”
What Ola termed as “minor addition on toll”, was in many cases actually double the state tax or 65 percent addition to the Delhi toll charges,
While the actual toll charged by the Uttar Pradesh government for a taxi crossing over from Delhi is Rs.60, Ola has been charging double at Rs 120, in some cases.
In the reverse direction, while the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) toll for a taxi crossing into Delhi is Rs.100 the operator had charged some passengers Rs 165, as the bills generated by the aggregator show.
One complainant, who resides in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, said she was overcharged since the beginning of April for the 4.2 km she travels to and from work in Noida.
“I am an occasional traveller by taxi and I prefer Ola cabs for commuting from Noida Sector 16 to Mayur Vihar or in reverse direction. A month back the bill used to be around Rs.170-180 for the 4.2 km distance; but on April 11, I had to pay Rs.286,” she told IANS, declining to be named.
“When I went through the bills of my ride, I found that Rs.165 was charged under the State Tax/MCD charges,” she added. There were two other occasions with the same amount.
Another passenger said that he had been charged Rs 120 for state tax.
On Saturday, Ola credited the extra amount charged to some of the people who had complained. It was not immediately clear if they had reversed the charges in all cases.
An Ola official had on Friday said that the company had a “transparent fare system”, where a commuter could check all the details of their ride on their website and also the bill.
When the invoice number of at least two instances of such overcharging were given to him, the official said that if a commuter thinks he or she has been overcharged then they must register their complaint with the customer care service and the company will hear their grievances.
While giving credit for the extra amount charged to one passenger, Ola had send an SMS saying: “We noticed that you were charged upto Rs.65 extra on one of your recent Ola cab rides, due to a glitch. We’re really sorry this happened, and have taken corrective action to ensure it isn’t repeated.”
“We have refunded Rs.75 in your Ola Money wallet and regret the inconvenience this might have caused you. We hope you will put this behind us, and ride with Ola again soon,” Ola said. Such refunds for at least three rides had been made to the passenger.
The Delhi government which has warned taxi operators against surge pricing, said it hasn’t received such complaints so far, but it will take action if people provide them proof.
“We haven’t come across any such complaint as of now. If people have any proof or information about this then please give it to us, and we will look into the matter and take stern action,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai told IANS on Friday.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)