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Radio cab fleets head for city

At least three dial-a-cab services will be rolled out in the next few months.

Delhi-based Mega Cabs is expected to be the first off the block in April, followed by Easy Cabs and Meru Cabs. The market buzz is that Bangladesh-based Reliance Cabs will join the fray soon.

The fleet of 100 Indigo Marinas of Kolkata Cabs, which was launched by Orix Auto Infrastructure Limited in August 2008 after the state floated a tender, is also set to double in April, said the CEO of the company, Niraj Kumar.

Mega Cabs will also use Indigo Marinas. “We are currently hiring staff and acquiring cars to launch our services in Calcutta,” Manish Dhariwal, the director of Mega Corporation, which runs Mega Cabs in Delhi, Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, told Metro.

Easy Cabs wants to enter the Calcutta market in the next three months. “We are in talks with the government to obtain a licence,” said Easy Cabs managing director Rajiv K. Vij.

The company runs Esteem, Versa, Indigo Marina and Logan taxis in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Calcutta is firmly on the radar of Meru Cabs, present in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi.

“We hope to finalise the Calcutta plans very soon,” Gavin Dabreo, the vice-president (marketing) of Meru Cabs said. The company uses Esteem, Logan and Indigos for their service.

Blue Arrow, the first radio taxi (luxury cabs that can be hailed over phone) service in the city, closed shop but the prospective entrants are upbeat about the market.

Kolkata Cabs, which charges about Rs 15 per kilometre (higher than what the black-and-yellow taxis charge), does not plan to reduce fares to take on the competition. “Our customers are more concerned about the overall service than the fare,” said Kumar.

The “no-refusal” cabs have “comfortable seats, GPS monitoring, digital tamper-proof meters, receipt printers and lost-and-found facilities”. “Payment through credit or debit card will be introduced soon,” added Kumar.

According to industry estimates, the number of radio taxis in India will increase from 6,000 now to over 30,000 in the next two years.

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