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Old 25th November 2014, 13:27   #16
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Default re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

My family has used Ola cabs few times now. Their service so far has been excellent. Only issue we have faced is non-availability during peak hours, especially when I would like to 'Ride Now'.

This is definitely a big blow to the auto rickshaws. Auto drivers in Bangalore have too much attitude. And travelling by auto is way too expensive and unsafe. I'm happy that they have competitors now.
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Old 25th November 2014, 13:55   #17
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Default re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Non availability of cabs during peak hours, more so cab drivers unwilling to come is a big concern. They play all sorts of tricks. One recent one being 'My 3 year old daughter accepted the ride by mistake' Please cancel the ride and book another one.

On weekends and offpeak hours, both ola and uber are excellent. Very reasonable, and worth it!. Even if the economics permitted, I cant see myself replacing my daily commute with cabs only because of dealing with driver tricks during peak hours. I guess the auto virus is spreading
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:01   #18
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Default re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

I wonder whether this low cost taxi fare is sustainable for the longer term. Today it is possible due to funding from private equity but once these companies need to show profits, can they sustain such low prices? But if this can get rid of the auto rickshaw mafia/menace then I am all for it!
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:54   #19
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Originally Posted by StepUP! View Post
In Pune they have taxi4Sure which charges only Rs 49 for up to 4kms travel! It is as cheap as a rickshaw.

The concept behind is using taxi for short distances as well instead of a rickshaw. Lest their business model, I am happy that I don't have to run behind a rickshaw, beg to charge by meter, get rude replies etc

Enough of Rickshaw driver's imploiteness. And if you ask me it's way safer too!
This is just predatory pricing and excess venture capital at work.

They still pay the taxis 200+ for the first 10 km anyway. The discount is illusory and only as long as the vc tap is on at full.

Having said that, they are really helping the common man escape the auto driver nuisance.
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Old 25th November 2014, 16:15   #20
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Default re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

My experience with these organised cabbies is only for airport trips. They are always in a hurry to drop you and pick up their next customer (unlike your old trusted cab guy) and flaunting all possible rule on the road to achieve their target.

If more & more such cabs come on the road, think of the nightmare they would create? They would be the new autos on the city roads. There should be some regulations (what? I need to think - token/badge system for cabs like in other countries to limit the # of cabs, stringent rules to pull out their badge on violations etc) to ensure that they dont spurt up like illegal colonies in cities, creating a deficiency for everyone.

Originally Posted by wildsdi5530 View Post
... There was an article in Sunday's paper advicing selling off private cars and depending on cabs only...
Somehow, I felt it was a paid article (in DH) going by its tone.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:06   #21
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Selling cars and depending on cabs? Not so fast. We are not there yet. Maybe in future all cities will be like Manhattan but for now, we can't even think of doing it.

Yesterday, I wanted to avail the 500 rupees off promotion on Uber (For using PayTM wallet) and opened their app. Not a single cab - Neither Uber Go, nor Uber X, nor Uber SUV nor Uber Black. It remained that way for at least a couple of hours after which I stopped looking. (Finally ended up driving the family myself to the destination - lost three precious hours which could otherwise been spent watching Gravity on HBO!)

All these prices are predator pricing! It won't be long before they increase the prices. However, even with the increased prices, the convenience factor will make consumers opt for these instead of the traditional call taxis.

I don't think these will replace Auto rickshaws in the near future.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:52   #22
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

I have been using the Cab services of OLA and Uber. In fact Ola price rates work out cheaper than Autos. The mobile App of Ola is as simple as Uber in terms of ease of use. I feel Ola are making a sincere attempt in wooing Indian customers in providing cost effective cab service. In terms of quality of the cars, my take is that Uber is way ahead since they mostly have new cars as compared to Ola.
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Old 25th November 2014, 18:06   #23
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Well, I think we need to categorize the taxi market as follows:

1. Company owned fleets- Tab Cab, Meru (Leaving Meru Flexi apart), Mega Cabs
2. Aggregators- Ola, Uber, TaxiforSure
3. Self drive companies- Myles (CarzonRent India) and Zoomcar

I feel that aggregators such Ola and Uber are only resorting to predatory pricing to capture the market. Just look at how Uber started off, premium cars and decent pricing. Slowly, they've changed their premium cars to hatch backs (Uber Go) and only slightly reduced the pricing. On the other hand, Ola and Taxifursure just seem to be in the business of this predatory pricing to jack up valuation with the hope of a possible acquisition by the big daddy i.e. Uber.

Personally, I prefer the self drive companies because I like to drive. Nothing beats the convenience of getting a Myles at the airport when you land so you can immediately drive off to your destination. Similar thoughts for Zoomcar since I have used them both when I travel to Chennai and Bangalore on vacation.

Coming to each of the categories listed above taking the tradition black- yellow cabs/ autos to the cleaners, that's where I feel they've the potential to make the maximum dent specially in cities like Kolkata where the rude pan spitting, change swiping taxi drivers and the hoodlum auto drivers have been a menace for ages. Over the last 6 months, I've totally stopped using the regular cabs/ autos and totally shifted to Uber, Meru Flexi or Ola, which have been rapidly scaling up presence in the city.
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Old 25th November 2014, 18:42   #24
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Its definitely adds to our advantage with so many players in the market. I use their services regularly when I am out of Bangalore. The taxi market has grown so much that one of my friend who wanted to buy a car for his new born baby, now uses the taxi services whenever he needs to go out with his family. He says its more economical for him to use Taxi services rather than paying the monthly EMI for the car and add to that he doesnt have to handle the additional stress of driving in Bangalore's traffic. I agree with him to an extent and for him the wait time was never more than 15 - 30 mts as he stays in a prime area.
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Old 25th November 2014, 19:11   #25
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Cabs are even more cost effective during night times as the extra charges are either nil or a bit extra that the day charges unlike an auto, who charge 2 times or more.
Recently after a late night dinner at 11:30, I checked with an auto and he was reluctant to come even for double the meter charge then I called meru cab, it worked out 30% lesser than what it would have cost in an auto. A big thumbs up for this revolution which was very much required. And the best thing is the cab companies take customer feedback very seriously and take action on the drivers.
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Old 25th November 2014, 20:09   #26
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

In Chennai, I have utilized Fast Track, NTL & Million Dots

Fast Track - They were once pioneers in the city, but has lost its charm now. Drivers are less professional and sometimes they don't just show up. Customer care don't really serve customers and cars are not clean. I will never book them again.

Million Dots - Don't see many of them on roads these days. They are slightly expensive than others. Have an experience with the driver forgetting to pick me up as he slept off, all try to contact the driver failed. The customer service somehow managed to establish contact and my travel was delayed considerably

NTL - So far the best based on my experience. The customer service is good, drivers are professional, cars are comparatively clean and they call an hour before the scheduled departure time to confirm they are on the way. They also send SMS with cab and driver details. Their meters are accurate and provide electronic receipts with the split of all charges, kilometers traveled and waiting time.

Ola is being established now and Meru is not very popular. Awaiting Taxi4Sure & Uber services in Chennai. I am positive the new services would enhance customer experience, that may also put pressure on existing ones to improve services.
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Old 25th November 2014, 20:39   #27
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Originally Posted by sunilg33 View Post
A big thumbs up for this revolution which was very much required. And the best thing is the cab companies take customer feedback very seriously and take action on the drivers.
I have seen Uber and Ola act/respond to customer complaints/feedback lightning quick.

Also, the drivers are at constant fear that any negative feedback by users will immediately result in cancelations of their incentives or even their membership, if the complaints are very severe.
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Old 25th November 2014, 21:04   #28
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

Got a chance to use Ola cabs recently and had a good experience overall. Driver turned up on time (10 mins from me requesting on mobile app) and the car was neat. However, he pulled a fast one on my grandparents by demanding rs.100 in excess of the waiting charge already collected in the bill.

I wrote a mail to Ola about this, got the amount refunded to my account in less than 24 hours along with an apology mail. They had an offer that day (50% off for paying using Ola money) which resulted in me spending Rs. 177 for a trip of 21.4 kms with waiting of about 50 mins. The same thing in an auto would have been 3 times this amount after all the haggling!

I hope this is sustainable in the long-term. I don't mid paying higher prices for safety,reliability,comfort and saving me from the hassle of bargaining with autos.
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Old 25th November 2014, 23:30   #29
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

I use MERU off and on, and must be on some sort of lucky stars with them, because I have always got a vehicle which is clean and well maintained and driven by good drivers. Most recently, post midnight pick-up from New Delhi Railway Station Pahargunj side, grungy part of town no doubt, took less than a minute for the phone booking, and less than 5 for the vehicle to connect with me. When it came, it was a clean D'Zire, and looked like it was new- the driver told me it was 34 months old and had done about 1.6 lakh kms or so, single hand owned and driven, and very good pre-emptive safe driving without any fuss.

Our plans to buy a new car have been put on hold largely because of the proliferation of cabs in and around NCR.

But I do not agree with storing a credit card number with a providor.
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Old 25th November 2014, 23:40   #30
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Default Re: The Indian Taxi Revolution - Uber, Ola, TaxiforSure, Meru etc.

It always feels good when we are paying lower prices and getting 50% discount in certain cases (e.g., use Ola wallet) on top of that.
But I think the question is more towards collecting opinion on the sustainability of Ola/TFS in the future.

In my opinion, any business model has to make positive gross margin (if not deliberately trying price war) in its business for future sustainability. Only then scale can help in the future to make it sustainable.

As far as I have heard, Ola/TFS are actually paying the drivers in certain categories of cabs for every drive. So if a customer pays 15 rupees for a sedan, Ola will pay the driver another 4-5 rupees to make his day. So for every trip that a customer takes, they are actually losing cash, forget about commission income.
Now this might be a good strategy for expanding taxi base in the short term, but in the long term they really have to get over just price competition.

If price war continues to be the only strategy, Meru might survive in the long term I fear. Because they have a much more robust business model in place.
Uber will also be able to survive the price competition thanks to the huge amount of funding it has raised and Google backing it up. For Uber though, government regulations might be a bigger concern.
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