Part 1

Let’s wind back the clocks to 2012. Meru was your best-buddy to pick you up from a late night party. You had to book a Meru cab in advance by calling them up. They’d accept your booking, but a cab’s arrival was based on its availability. You wouldn’t be sure until a cab actually arrived at your doorstep! And when it arrived, you were ready to pay Rs 21.50 (ex-Bangalore) for every kilometer you traveled in it. The only major pan-India service providers other than Meru were FastTrack and Easycabs, the latter of the two was extremely unreliable and had a bad track-record in the safety department.

It’s 2016 and the scenario has changed drastically. The world of taxi service providers has turned upside down. It’s a different India today where a startup starts-up every hour! (Can’t back that claim satistically, but, let’s just assume for now) You don’t need to call anyone. You, the consumer, need not wait for a call-center representative to respond to your call. You’re not put on-hold until a rep becomes free to attend to you. All you do is to unlock your smartphone, open an app, select your current location and your choice of the class of cab you want to travel in. If there’s a cab around, you’re assigned one. If there isn’t, well, you can’t book one! Things are that easy today!

OLA & Uber, together, have not only changed the way we commute in our cities, but also provided lakhs of drivers means to a better life and higher earnings! These companies, known as cab aggregators, have changed the way taxis are run. The chances of you getting a taxi is not dependent on an individual driver’s mood anymore (in most cases). You’re not cheated by tampered meters. The chances of you getting a cab depends on just one thing – availability of a cab around you!

Why is it that we, as customers, are still unhappy with the cab aggregators? Why are we shaming these companies in the social media? Why are we filing petitions on asking the governments to take action against these companies? There are two major problems that customers have with these cabs.

The first problem is safety. Safety is a genuine concern. It doesn’t apply only to cabs, but also to any other form of public transport. We’ve seen enough incidents in the last decade that have taught us many lessons. The governments have, although not proactive, reacted well to the calls of the customers asking the cab aggregators to follow standard safety procedures. The number of incidents have come down after the governments stepped-in. There are, of course, an incident or two reported every month about an assault and such crimes cannot be completely thwarted. We don’t live in a world where safety is a guaranteed thing.