Prefer comfort and convenience to commuting costs? Hail, er dial, a cab.
Come Saturday, radio taxi will be a part of Jamshedpur’s everyday life. The 24x7 facility, being launched by private operator Sea Cabs, will boast a fleet of hatchbacks equipped with GPS and GPRS to enable monitoring from a central control room.
“We are launching the service in the steel city with 20 AC cars from June 7. As a promotion, we will offer free pick-up. If the response is good, we will increase numbers in the future,” Captain Manish Kumar, a partner of the cab company, told The Telegraph. He added that residents could either book their travel at the customer care helpline number (8252777888) or online at www.seacabs.org.
A customer has to book a taxi at least 20 minutes in advance. The agency will send order confirmation, driver’s name, his contact number and reporting time via SMS after that. It will also seek customer feedback over phone. The control room will record all calls for future reference.
According to Kumar, the primary objective of Sea Cabs was to offer a hassle-free journey. “We cannot compromise on client safety,” he said. Hence, all vehicles will be equipped with bill printers so that there is no scope of fleecing passengers. Each car will also have a panic button using which the driver can alert the control room in case of any emergency.
Kumar maintained that the entire fleet would be under surveillance via a tracking system operated from the control room, which will be at Bistupur’s Kamani Centre. “Keeping in mind the safety of clients, we are further equipping each vehicle with firefighting gear and first aid kit,” he said.
The agency has also roped in experienced and police-certified drivers. “They will have a dress code and carry ID cards. The drivers will have thorough knowledge of traffic norms and will have to keep an eye on speed,” another Sea Cabs functionary said.
Speaking of rates, he said they had fixed a fee of Rs 200 for the first 5km and thereafter would charge Rs 20 for every kilometre. “Night rates (10pm to 6am) will be 25 per cent of the total chargeable amount. We will also levy a 12.36 per cent service tax. Customers will have to bear parking fees separately,” he added.
Unlike Jamshedpur, Ranchi came of radio age two years ago. In 2012, the two private operators — Kesu Kabs of Ranchi and Clear Car from Mumbai — decided to put the capital city in the same transport league as metros.
Kunal Shah, the proprietor of Kesu Kabs, said the idea of running such a service struck him when he saw people getting dropped by rickety, smoke-belching three-wheelers in front of elite shopping malls.
He started operations in October 2012, currently runs a dozen cabs across Ranchi and boasts over 500 clients. “While a chunk comprises senior citizens who prefer cabs over keeping a driver at home, many are women who do not know to drive,” Shah had told The Telegraph last year.
Lucas Gaikwad of Clear Car said his clients were mostly from metros who visit Ranchi for business. But, he admitting that response was still tepid.
BOOK A CAB
Rate: Rs 200 for first 5km; Rs 20 for every kilometre thereafter. Night rates (10pm to 6am) 25 per cent extra; service tax 12.36 per cent
Official website: www.seacabs.org