Cool cab, chilled ride
April 3, 2008 11:12 AM
Mumbai has 500, Hyderabad 350 and Delhi 200. Goa and Bangalore are their next target. It is a cab service that is being talked about. On the lines of cab services in London and Singapore, V-Link has launched Meru cabs throughout the country. After a successful stint of one year in jam-packed Mumbai, these metered radio taxis can now be availed of in the transport - starved Capital.
"Meru, as the name means is unshakable. In the same way, we want to provide people a service that is extremely professional and cannot be tampered with," C. B. Singh, regional head, V-Link Taxis Private Limited. Fully air-conditioned, coupled with digital meters and GPS-based dispatch technology, these cabs are set to make a difference in commuting in the Capital. However, with the competition in radio taxis getting though, wouldn't it be difficult to create a separate identity in the market? "The service' three touch points ~ car, call centre and chauffeur ~ would differentiate us from the rest," explained Singh.
Unlike other taxi services where the chauffeur is the recruited quickly and given a car in about two hours of joining, V-Link ensures that every chauffeur undergoes rigorous check ups and training after which he gets a car. The entire procedure takes about 20 days ensuring that only best are chosen. "The training process includes physical, police and address verification of the chauffeur thorough medical tests, one-week comprehensive training on driving regulations, technology, and customer behavior (Especially with ladies)," said Singh.
As of now, the company is using Maruti Esteem vehicles. "We have tried to give the best interiors, air conditioning, good seat covers, car perfume, chauffeur's ID, no smoking tags, fasten your seat belt tags. One would automatically feel the differences once inside a Meru cab".
Considering the unsafe tag that the Capital has acquired in view of the numerous cases of harassment of women, the company assures it has taken every necessary precaution to safeguard its customers. "We have thorough verification of chauffeurs. We even hire our own detective agencies for their verification. We only take chauffeurs who own a house in Delhi for a considerable period of time and not just anyone who has just come to the capital city. We have also provided a panic button in the car for any emergency. Once pressed, it will track the whereabouts of the car and another car will be dispatched immediately for help," said Singh.
Another advantage of the latest technology that Meru cabs have on board is the responsive 'Lost and Found' tracking system so that any item left behind advertently in the cab can be traced to the vehicle that a reposting customer would have used. The charges for these cabs would be as prescribed by the government for radio taxi services. It would be Rs 15 for every kilometer. The night charges would be 15 percent extra. As Singh said, "Our digital meters are designed in such a way that they automatically switch over for calculating night fares." Each cab has on board a printer which gives a printed receipt for fare collected. The digital tamper-proof meter on board and the printed receipt for all fares ensures that the passenger pays strictly in line with the fare structure and no more.
"We are planning to include pre-charged cards for frequent corporate clients as well as for individuals. A touchscreen window-based system is also in the offing. We have a target of launching around 1000 cabs by the start of next year," concluded Singh.
In case you too wish to avail their services, dial 4422 4422, or send an SMS to 575755 or book on web at www.merucabs.com.