The taxi wars – which one are you better off choosing?

       Almost every single day, you get a message from a cab operator telling you excitedly how they have slashed fares giving you a feeling that an ac-cab ride is getting cheaper by the day. Luncheon conversations invariably drift towards how these cab companies(or cab aggregators rather) are making ac cabs the most convenient and affordable option for travel. Let us do some numbers and see how much of it really holds true!

Mumbai being one of the rate cities with metered alternatives to cab rides, I have taken examples of long, medium and short distance commutes in Mumbai city with and without heavy traffic conditions.
The rate cards of the main operators is as follows:
Cab service: Rate cards
Case 1: Long distance commute
Origin: Mulund Gymkhana, Mulund East
Destination: Plaza Cinemas, Dadar
Distance: 23 kms
Typical time: Lazy Sundays: 45 mins, Peak time: 65 mins
This is how the different operators stack up:
Long distance commute

 

Uber is a clear winner here and could help you save up to Rs.50 against an OLA.
Meru, considering its high rates, perhaps cater to a different customer, someone who wants an assured cab.
TaxiForSure, despite its recent price slash to Rs.8/km, turns out to be slightly more costly than Uber because of the high riding time charges.
Meru Genie, Ola and our original Kaali Peeli are all in the similar price range.
Case 2: Medium distance commute
Origin: Mulund Gymkhana, Mulund East
Destination: KJ Somaiya College of Engineering
Distance: 14 kms
Typical time: Lazy Sundays: 25 mins, Peak time: 40 mins
Medium distance commute

 

Uber wins here too with TFS a close second thanks to the lower riding time.
The Kaali Peeli also performs well given it has no base fare.
Case 3: Short distance commute
Origin: Mulund Gymkhana, Mulund East
Destination: Bank of Maharashtra, Bhandup West
Distance: 6 kms
Typical time: Lazy Sundays: 15 mins, Peak time: 25 mins
Short distance commute

 

As expected, the Kaali Peeli comes on top in the short distance commute type thanks to its standard rate per km and no base fare.
What does this tell you? That all this noise about affordable ac cab services is indeed justified.
Some thumb rules:
1. For both long and medium distance travel, these cab operators are good value for money and Uber is the most cost-effective given the current prices.
2. Choose to ride in the original taxi aka Kaali Peeli if its a short distance commute (5-8 kms)
3. In case you encounter surge pricing (x times actual fare), you would be better off hiring the Kaali Peeli.
4. In extremely heavy traffic conditions, it is advisable to hire a Kaali Peeli given its zero riding time charges and low waiting time charges.
PS: The analysis assumes price to be the only factor of consideration for choice of cab. Other factors like ac travelling, quality of car, quality of service, easy of payment et al. are largely in favor of the new cab operators while questions over job market impact, licenses and ethics dent their image
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