Meru now operational in Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore
May 26, 2008 11:05 AM
A year back V-Link launched MERU - the premier radio metered cool cab in Mumbai. Now expands its wings to Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore. Taxis will be available at new Greater Hyderbad International Airport as well the New International Airport in Bangalore and will also be available for retail sector.
Meru will launch in Bangalore with around 500 taxis. Of this, 400 taxis will be dedicated for international airport and 100 taxis. Cabs are priced at 15/km as prescribed by the Govt of Karnataka for the city of Bangalore.
At the launch, Mr. Neeraj gupta, MD, V-Link said, " We are in a unique position to expand our radio taxi business across India as we have gained tremendous experience in the demanding Mumbai market over the last year. We have engaged the best-in-class service providers to build the service delivery and technology elements for this project. Our success in Mumbai is due to our strong emphasis on providing a high - quality, comfortable and affordable travel experience for our customers." He added, "In Feb 2008, V-Link Taxis bagged the contract for new International Airport in Bangalore to deploy its taxi services, which will e used both at the airport as well as within the city giving a jump start for taxi operations in Bangalore, a city that previously did not have an existing taxi culture or market. In order to commence its radio taxi operations in Bangalore, V-Link has satisfied all the criteria laid down by the city government and its currently the only provider to be selected as an operator of radio taxis in the city."
Speaking to SAFARI PLUS Mr. Gupta revelas V-Links future plans for further expansions and services of MERU.
Q) How many MERUs are running in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore
& Hyderabad respectively? And what are your future plans in term of
expanding and which other cities will be on your target?
There are over 500 taxis running on the streets of Mumbai. We have recently launched in delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad with 250, 500 and 400 taxis respectively. In Delhi, the fleet shall increase to 1000 taxis by early next year. In Bangalore & Hyderabad, our taxis are dedicated for airport passenger services for the upcoming International Airport in the city. This radio taxi service does not only caters to the demand of passengers commuting to and from the new international airport, but is also available to the city's public transport. This year we shall look at other cities like Pune and Chennai and scale to around 4000 taxis by the year end.
Q) How would you differentiate MERU from other cool cabs in
town? Why should MERU be the people first choice in term of offering and
'Our car, our chauffeurs and our services differentiate us from the rest.' I believe Meru has already become commuters' first choice because of rising demands we see each day in the market. Also our car's unique features make it a different service product itself. Meru uses high-end GPS and GPRS based tracking device that helps to identify the nearest taxi from the customer's pickup location. There is a mobile communication terminal(MCT) inside each taxi which has a built -in GPS receiver, LCD display screen and GPRS connectivity which helps the chauffeur to communicate with the control room. Our datacenter hosts a set of communication servers, application servers and database servers which are in constant touch with each taxi through GPRS. The latitude and longitude information is plotted on GIS map for real-time tracking.
The digital tamper proof meter on board and the printed receipt for all fares ensure that the passenger pays strictly in line with the fare structure and no more. This makes it easy for those passengers who require a receipt for claiming travel expenses and can also be used by a passenger to report excess fare complaints, if any. Every fare that the Meru takes is digitally transmitted back to the Control Centre and is recorded for reference.
V Link also uses its technology for ensuring that there is a very responsive "Lost and found" tracking system in place so that any item left behind inadvertently in Meru cab can be traced to t he vehicle that the reporting customer has used.
Another feature s the panic button that is installed inside the Meru car, which enables the chauffeur to connect to the Control Centre in case of an emergency or mishap.
Q) Looking on to the foreign traveler what are the security measures taken by MERU?
'It is a common experience for foreign travelers or first time visitors to Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore to be 'taken for a ride' quite literally, by the city's taxi chauffeurs. Business travelers too, who come to the city for a day's visit say that finding reliable and economical transport is quite a challenge. Those who are not familiar with the fare structure or the meter readings of the taxis quite often end up paying much more than they owe. With the help of this radio taxi service, business travelers find this especially convenient for early-morning pick-ups to the airport or booking a Meru well advance off their visit. In addition, the digital tamper proof meter fitted in each of our taxis ensures the travelers pay strictly in line with the fare structure and is not cheated with excess fares.
Customers can avail of multiple options to get the Meru cab service including dialing into 44224422, sending an SMS to 57575 or doing a web request at www.merucabs.com