Taxi For Sure, Easy Cabs, Meru Cabs - not enough taxi services in Bangalore!

As frequent traveler within the city who doesn't like either driving or public transportation, I mostly rely on cabs for commute. Taxicabs arrived in 1911 to complement horse wagons. But many a time, I wished horse wagons continued their services. Infact, my folks used to tell me tales about how they used to travel in 'bullock carts'. With the current traffic situation in the Indian cities, that looks like a viable option.

I have a neutral opinion on most of the cab services in Bangalore. Taxicab service is a lucrative business. One can conveniently book a cab from the thousand companies listed on Google. What happens next? When the taxi should arrive at your doorstep, you get a call from a drunk driver that he has reached some place unknown to you, to pick you up. Most of the time, you have to wait outside, on the street waiting for the driver, while giving instructions over the phone (Sounds familiar? Remember the time in school/college when you would wait for your sweetheart.)

I am generally not a pessimist, nor do I whine that often. But after using the cab services Bangalore has to offer, I figured that sharing my experiences with the said subject, mostly bitter ones, may prove to be beneficial to other souls like me.
'Taxi For Sure' - the name does sound like a commitment from Salman Khan. And most of the time I fall for that. The service commenced in 2011 and never had to look back. With around 11 cities under their belt by 2014, the company had been assuring people of a 'taxi for sure'.

Are they able to deliver as many cabs required by the people of these cities? Ummmm No. Big NO. Here's how it usually goes - You are charmed by the name and expect to hire a 'Taxi for Sure'. You call the customer care no 60601010, they would make you 'wait for sure'. After about 5 to 10 minutes of listening to the 60601010 jingle, if you're lucky enough to get past all levels of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), be rest assured you'll hear, "Sorry, we don't have a taxi for sure!"Out of 10 calls that I make to Taxi For Sure, 3 are ignored; meaning, they 'don't have a taxi for sure' in my area.

I have to admit that compared to other taxi services in Bangalore, Taxi For Sure is leading in the area of reliability (you can imagine how the other cab services are). Still, I would suggest that you avoid it if you need a cab on an urgent basis (unless you don't want to be engulfed in a murderous rage).

My humble suggestion to Taxi For Sure management is - Increase the number of cars before increasing the number of cities!
There was a time when Meru Cabs were very reliable. They started their services in the city long before Bangalore airport was shifted to Hebbal. What went wrong? Meru Cabs diverted their attention towards the new Bengaluru International Airport. The longer the distance the more money they could make! So if you are looking for a pick-up and drop within the city of Bangalore, feel free to avoid Meru Cabs as well.

In last five years, I tried to book a Meru Cabs over a dozen times. If it's the airport, they readily agree to transport you. For any other location, their standard response is, "No cabs available in your area and you can 'Rely On Us' on that!"

There have been times when I had waited for hours, but the cab seemed to have pulled Houdini, despite receiving a confirmation on the previous day. It's been a while since I bade them goodbye.
Easy Cabs are easy to locate with their yellow sticker in the cars. In Bangalore you might miss spotting a celebrity, but never an Easy Cab. They claim that they are India's # 1 personal ground transportation service provider. But most of the time they are actually transporting the drivers alone - the backseat usually remains empty.

Easy Cabs customer care (43434343) respond faster compared to other taxi services. Although sometimes it is difficult to understand their English, they would assure you that you will get a 'Cab Easily' through them. They claim to have more than 6500 cabs. So what's there to worry?

And then the waiting begins. Forget about 'easy', you might not even see a 'difficult cab'. Here's a funny incident - I booked an Easy Cab on Oct 14, 2014 for the next day to take me from my premises in Koramangala to Mahadevapura in Bangalore. The booking was confirmed for 8:15 AM on Oct 15, 2014. I got a confirmation message with a booking ID. Next day I received the driver details about one hour before the pick-up time and happily waited for the driver to arrive. When the cab didn't show up by 8:15 AM, I called the driver. He said he was on the way and mumbled something in a language that I couldn't decipher. I called the Easy Cab customer care. I was put on hold for nearly 5 mins; then an executive said that the cab will arrive in another 10 mins. When that didn't happen, I called the driver again. This time he sounded drunk and muttered something again. I called the customer care again. This time the customer care person said that no cabs are available in my area.

Naturally irritated, I disconnected the call and traveled in an auto rickshaw. At 9:00 AM I received another message from Easy Cabs with updated driver details. I chose to ignore that, as I was already on my way. A little later, I got another call from Easy Cabs. The person on the other end said, "Please wait for half an hour, we are looking for another cab for you". By that time I had reached my destination.

My suggestion to Easy Cabs will be, "Change your name from Easy Cabs to Easy Calls!"
I am yet to try taxicab companies like Ola Cabs, Mega Cabs, Yellow Cabs etc. But first I have to get through their phone lines on a rainy day.

In Bangalore, it is sometimes easy to get a taxi on a weekday after 11 AM. It is also easy to get a cab to drop you at the airport. But be prepared to be ditched by cabs services if you are in some kind of emergency. Another heads up - never rely on a cab service if you are stuck somewhere and want to reach to your family at home on a rainy day.

Smaller cities like Shillong have shared taxi services which are cheap. Bangalore too can adopt the idea of having Yellow-colored cabs like Kolkata and Mumbai. Relying on a cab for sure will be easy for the commuters. On a different note, I am contemplating on investing in a bicycle. That should give me enough content for another blog post.

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