MERU: Metered radio taxi in Mumbai
April 24, 2007 5:56 PM
V- Link, a leading fleet management company, has launched Meru
world-class Metered radio taxi service in Mumbai. The company also
plans to launch 150 taxis, which will increase to 1,000 by the year end
and also has plans to manage a fleet of at least 10,000 cabs across
major Indian metros in the next three to five years. The company plans
to first launch subsequently in Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh ,
Hyderabad, Banglore, Chennai and Pune. It will use Maruti C-segment Esteem
brand of car for its services.
" We are into an unique position to use our significant fleet
management experience to set up the radio taxi business and have
engaged the best-in-class service providers to build the delivery
elements for this project," said Mr. Neeraj Gupta, Managing Director of
V-Link Group. A city like Mumbai needs a significant upgrade in terms
of infrastructure and along with the Government of Maharashtra, the
company is also helping Mumbai to introduce a cab service that would be
modeled on the best cab services in major cities like Singapore and
London, he said.
V- Link has satisfied the criteria laid down by the Government of
Maharashtra and is one of the players selected by the Government as an
operator of Radio taxis in Mumbai, he points out. Services like
"Dial-a-Meru", "SMS-a-Meru" and "Meru-on-the-Net" will also be available
shortly, he informed.
Through this project, V-Link hopes to upgrade the quality of urban
transportation in Mumbai and also contribute in a small way to uplift
the community of chauffeurs who will be engaged in these operations.
Commuters will have the opportunity to commute in a modern,
air-conditioned taxi, backed by GPS-based dispatch technology. They
will now be able to call up a taxi at a desired place of pick-up, with a
100 percent assurance of a tamper- proof meter and a printed receipt,
Mr. Anjan Deb, Chief Operating Operator said. Emergency security
features are installed in the car for complete passenger safety. The
fleet of Meru cabs operates on clean, green fuel thus contributing to
keeping Mumbai clean and fresh.
The company also offer an advance booking system for Meru
which will allow a customer to book for a cab on the phone or on net in
advance and get a cab at their appointed location from anywhere within
the city of Mumbai. Since this business is vamping up gradually, it is
likely that the initial advance booking system will be available only
in limited parts of the city, but would quickly be made available
across the entire city. Additionally, customers will also able to hail a
cab by the curbside, or hire a Meru cab parked at several pre-designed locations across the city.
It will use technology for ensuring that there is a very responsive
"Lost and Found" tracking system in place so that any item left behind
inadvertently in the Meru
cab can be traced to the vehicle that the customer has used.
Every fare Meru
collects is digitally transmitted back to the
control centre and is recorded for reference. Each cab has an on board
printer which gives a printed receipt for the fare collected. This will
ensure that the passenger pays strictly in line with the fare
structure and no more. The fare structure of the service is line with
the fares prescribed by the Department of Transport, Maharashtra and is
at a premium to the existing fares of the yellow top cabs.
Each air-conditioned Meru
car is thoroughly cleaned everyday
with a signature scent to ensure that the travel experience is
pleasant. Some basic amenities like maps of the city, wet wipes, clean
bottled water and limited selection of music would initially be offered
to passengers using Meru services. Strong emphasis has been placed on
investing time and effort into assembling a team of chauffeurs who meet
the stringent recruitment standards.
The V-Link group was founded by Mr. Neeraj Gupta in 2000 with a
fledging fleet management operation in the city of Mumbai. The business
grew to provide transportation solutions to some of the leading BPO
operations in Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon, and Hyderabad. The roster of the
clients for the V-Link Fleet Solutions business compromises some of the
finest brands in the industry including Accenture, Convergys,
Sutherland, Times NOW, First Source, Star News, IBM etc. The V-Link
Fleet Solutions business is the largest operator in the City of Mumbai
managing a fleet of over 1000 vehicles on date.
India Value Fund (IVF), a premier private equity fund with a diverse
set of investments of investments in India such as Biocon, Trinethra,
and Radio City etc. has recently taken a stake in V-Link and is
providing management support besides requisite equity infusion. IVF has
been instrumental in building several valuable businesses in the past.
Managed by a team of investment professionals in India, and supported
by an International Team, India Value Fund Advisors was established in
2000 to manage the India Value Fund.