Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Welcome, radio cabs

Last Friday when I had to go from my house to Grand Hyatt hotel, Santa Cruz, i decided to call Meru Cabs. This is a radio cab, whose call centre you have to telephone (022-44224422) and they will send you a cab as soon as possible. Typically the waiting time can range from 15 minutes to an hour, max. two, if it is unearthly. Since I had time on my side, I placed an order two hours back.

Meru Cab's service is very nice. They sent me an SMS instantly confirming my order, alongwith my order number. Then, 1/2 hour before the cab came, they sent me an SMS informing me about the car's number, the chauffeur's name and his mobile number.

The cab was right on time, the driver in his neat uniform, the car was Maruti Esteem and air-conditioned and in good condition unlike the many rickety-rockety black and yellow regular taxis I have travelled in. The driver started the AC, and the meter. The best part is that the meter of the taxi starts from where you get in, and not from where they begin their journey to come to your pick-up place. At the end of the journey, you get a print-out of the bill. The bill contains the car number, distance travelled, starting and ending time of the journey and such details. The driver bids adieu to you with a smile.

Welcome to the age of Radio Cabs. If you are disgusted by the attitude by many of the taxi drivers of the black-yellow (BY) taxis in Mumbai or even in Delhi, I suggest you start using radio cabs. Many BY taxis take you only if you want to travel for long distances because the longer you go, the more they earn. BY taxis at Nariman Point that stand in the queue are the worst of the lot and blatantly refuse to ply for "short" distances. ALL the taxis you take from the Mumbai airport have faulty meters that over-charge you and try and fleece you. Ditto for taxis from railway terminuses like Kurla and Dadar. I have a fight time with the airport taxis every time i land in Mumbai.

On the contrary, radio taxis are much more professional and take you wherever you want them to go. They give you a computerised print-out of the bill (fare). This way, they are accountable and transparent as they bill contains the total kms travelled, date and time of the journey.
These taxis are air-conditioned and hence a bit expensive than BY taxis, but at least they are professional than BY taxis. But they aren't overtly expensive than the BY taxis and instead cheaper than the blue air-conditioned cabs (BAC). For instance, while BAC taxi's meters would keep running even if the taxi stops at a signal, Meru cabs' meter stops when it comes to a halt at a traffic signal or when stuck in a traffic jam. While ther BY taxis cost me Rs 200 from my house to the airport, Meru will charge me around Rs 270 or so. The BAC taxis would cost me more than this. Personally, I do not mind paying something extra but have problems in patronising cheats.
Examples of radio cabs in Mumbai would be Meru Cabs .

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