During the first phase of Delhi’s odd-even scheme, Uber completed 92% of trips at regular fares, the company said. But “higher prices are required in order to get cars on the road and keep them on the road during the busiest times,” said Gagan Bhatia, general manager for Uber in north India, in a statement to the press. ”In short, without surge pricing, there would be no car available when people need it.”

Peak pricing also can dissuade customers from making non-urgent trips, freeing up rides for those who need transportation more urgently, says Kartik Hosanagar, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. His research focuses on the digital economy.

“Overall, I think governments should be careful about getting into things they don’t understand,” says Hosanagar, who was critical of Karnataka’s ban on surge pricing. “If other governments follow suit, this could hurt a very effective mechanism for matching supply and demand and also lead to higher prices during non-peak hours.”

Whatever the explanation, the business models of Uber and Ola might be up for a tough test in India in the coming months. The state of Maharashtra is also reportedly considering a ban on surge pricing.

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