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Dna Exclusive: Pune AC cabs are not as cool, after all!

Monday, 24 March 2014 - 12:38pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Team dna books the most popular cab services in the city to tell you what works and what doesn't for each of them
  • Cabs-Pune-DNA Dna Staffer takes a test ride in one of the cab services in Pune which were evaluated. dna Web Team dna

Pune: So what is it that sets one taxi service from another? While one claims to having the newest fleet of cars, another boasts of best ‘on-time performance.
Some cab services track each vehicle with GPS with a software to send alerts of any changes in route, it becomes difficult for a passengers to choose from the existing services given that most claim nearly similar features.
Last week, team dna took a ride with a few of the more popular taxi service providers and checked the quality of the cab service rating them on various parameters like punctuality, driver knowledge and behaviour, facilities in the cab etc. Here’s what we found,

Wings Radio Cabs 

Booked a cab from NIBM Road to Oyster and Pearl Hospital, Shivajinagar.
The cab was booked for 10.30 am but the cab arrived about 20 minutes late. The driver kept calling to ask for instructions to reach the pick up location and ended up going in the opposite direction. When we sat inside the car, we noticed that the cars windows had been rolled down and AC was switched off. It was only after five minutes of ride that we reminded him, we were paying for an AC ride. The cars interiors were clean and the driver also drove cautiously. However we found that the driver was not very well aware of the city roads and took slightly longer on congested routes and it was only after we asked him that he told us to suggest the route we preferred. We did notice a tissue box but it was empty and the cab is GPS enabled as company claimed, but we couldn’t see the GPS tracker. The total bill for a 12 km ride, including waiting charges, was rounded off to Rs250 and a Rs30 extra for the vehicle entry tax that we paid directly at the Cantonment tax collection booth. Though a little expensive, we found there were no hidden charges.
What worked: Smooth ride, clean interiors, clarity on fare
What didn’t work: Late arrival, AC switched off, congested routes

Joy Ride Cabs 

We had booked the cab for a pick-up in late afternoon, i.e. 4:45pm from Pune airport to Swargate.
This cab too arrived 20 minutes late and the driver of the car did not even apologize for coming late. Instead he complained that the time given for the pick up was on a very short notice.
At least the driver was well aware of city roads and promptly informed us about the per kilometer charge, giving us an option for AC or non AC ride with varying charges. The driver drove carefully and didn’t seem to be in a hurry even after getting stuck in the traffic jam for more than 15-20 minutes at Sangamwadi bridge.The car didn’t have any litter but the interior was stained and there was a foul smell in the car. The driver didn’t have any car freshener. The billing was as per the decided rate i.e. Rs13.5 per km for an AC ride but what we felt was need for an electronic board displaying total fare as per distance traveled and total tariff.
What worked: Cheaper ride, cautious driver
What didn’t work: Stained and foul smelling interiors, late arrival


Genie Cabs 

Booked a cab from NIBM to Shivajinagar and back.
The newest launched taxi service in Pune, we booked the cab twice. First a cab from Swargate to NIBM Road and once a cab for pickup from NIBM Road to Shivajinagar. On both occasions, the cab driver arrived five minutes prior to the pick up time. It was a brand new car complete with air freshener and the AC had been switched on. We were pleased to see the driver holding the car door open for the lady passenger. The drive was a smooth one. The car had a strip on the inside of door handles that gave the details of fare. There was even a tablet PC attached to the dashboard which showed the vehicle’s movement on a map. During the first ride all went smoothly until time to pay the bill when reporter learnt that that there is an extra charge of Rs30 for phone bookings of cabs which is free for online booking. It’s sent by email and hence there is no scope for cross checking the amount paid until later. The driver asked for Rs30 extra than billed amount claiming that it was waiting charges which wasn’t added to the bill since he had not switched on the metre until we boarded the cab. 
What worked: Clean cabs, smooth ride.
What didn’t work: Clarity on fares, driver’s gaffe resulting in waiting

Meera Cabs 

Booked a cab from Swargate to Pune Airport at 4 pm.
We instantly got the confirmation message along with the vehicle registration number along with drivers name along with the drivers name and contact number. However, we found that the driver of the car was unaware of the route and he had made several calls before orienting himself to the destination. It was only after asking him several times, the driver switched on the air conditioner even though the fare was inclusive of AC charges. Even the ride was pretty rough as the driver of the car was applying hard brakes at several places taking 50 minutes to cover 14 km. The cab had an air conditioner but the interiors were filled with dust and even the seat belt was not working properly. The fare was Rs300 for first three kilometer and Rs 8 per kilometer after that but there was no mention about the fare anywhere. Even then the fare should have been Rs388 but the driver rounded off the fare at his own wish and charged Rs 400 for the 14km ride. The fare for AC and non AC ride was the same and there was no electronic fare rate displayed.
What worked: Prompt service.
What didnt work: Cheating on fare, dirty and dusty interiors, steep fares

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