Test Rides: TabCab vs Ola Cabs
Contact: 6363 6363, tabcab.in.
Minimum fare: Rs24 for the first kilometre from 5am to 11.59pm, and Rs30 for the first kilometre from midnight to 4.59am.
Rate: Rs17 per kilometre for every subsequent kilometre from 5am to 11.59pm, and Rs21.25 per kilometre for every subsequent kilometre from midnight to 4.59am.
Waiting charges: 50 paise per minute from 5am to 11.59pm, and 62 paise per minute from midnight to 4.59am.
Area of operation: Up to Alibaug.
When you dial the number to book a TabCab, there’s an option to set your preferred language so you don’t have to go through the process each time you call. The first couple of times we called however we were too late and then too early—you need to book your journey no less than 45 minutes ahead and no more than six hours in advance. Despite the fact that the girl on the phone didn’t sound too convinced about Pedder Road being a valid pick-up address (“You need to tell me which suburb you’re calling from,” she insisted), the driver, or “saathi” as TabCab likes to them, showed up well in time, even though he called to ask for directions. The Toyota Etios that drove us to Bandra was clean and comfortable, and filled with entertainment options: we could choose between Hindi and English movies (the former included a selection of recent blockbusters such as Bodyguard and Singham, the latter a fairly dated mix of action films such as Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and The Taking of Pelham 123); talks (videos from TED, Deepak Chopra and Osho); and songs (mostly Bollywood and English pop). We could pick these via the touch-screen on the tablet—which puts the tab in TabCab—fitted onto the back of the front passenger seat. The tablets also feature maps and listings of restaurants, bars and coffee shops but we couldn’t access any of these owing to a lack of an Internet signal throughout our journey. The most impressive part of our ride however was that the driver did not once attend to his ringing phone. Apart from our suspicion that we may have been charged extra waiting time, our experience was good enough to make us want to hire a TabCab again.
Conact: 3355 3355, olacabs.com.
Minimum fare: Rs100.
Rate: Rs18 per kilometre.
Waiting charges: Rs1 per minute.
Area of operation: Within Maharashtra and up to Goa.
If you require a cab on short notice, Ola Cabs isn’t the service for you. When we first tried to book one, we were told that we needed to call at least three hours in advance. Then, an hour before our cab was due to pick us up from Churchgate, we received a call from Ola informing us that the car allotted to take us to Bandra had “broken down” and would take about five hours to fix. They were unable to get us a replacement, probably because Ola doesn’t have its own fleet but rather sources cabs from different operators. Our second attempt at using an Ola cab, this time to travel from Bandra to Churchgate, was fairly smooth. While the driver reached the pick-up point ahead of time, he omitted to tell us the kilometre reading. He also kept attending phone calls and checking text messages en route. The most annoying part of the journey however was his refusal to give us a bill after we reached our destination. Even with customer-friendly initiatives such as offering to charge rickshaw rates during the recent auto strike, we’re unlikely to call for an Ola cab in the future.