Thursday, July 23, 2009

A radio taxi service in Pune

Living in India's Autorickshaw-Hell, also known as Bangalore, I was surprised to note that another city could inspire the same dread of being stranded without transport in the middle of nowhere. Unless, of course, you enjoy daylight robberies in which case there are rickshaws aplenty.

We were recently in Pune and realized that going from the airport at Lohegaon to a destination 15-20KM away can easily cost Rs.600 or more. This is from a pre-paid taxi counter (which is just a farce run by the taxi lobby; it is neither regulated nor reasonable). Going to the airport is another nightmare: apart from a higher price, you can never be sure of simply hailing a taxi or auto. For early morning or late night flights, be prepared to pay a King's ransom!

Delhi and Bangalore suffer from similar woes when it comes to rude, cheating rickshaw drivers. Luckily, both cities now have excellent radio taxi networks that assure a reliable, cost-effective and stress-free ride from anywhere to anywhere. All you do is call a local helpline, they track the nearest taxi on a satellite-system and usually send you a taxi within 15-30 minutes. Surprisingly, none of the major companies like Cel Cabs or Meru Cabs have a presence in Pune. That is when we discovered Wings Radio Taxi. Even the locals seemed unaware of their presence and it was only repeated searching on Google that helped us find them.

They seem to have a small but well-run operation in Pune. We have not used them extensively to comment on their service. However, what impressed us was that they took the effort of following up with us after we made a complaint regarding their service. The executive, Ms.Sneha, called us numerous times to ensure that we were satisfied and that the experience would be pleasant. The driver was also very polite and cheerful, although he kept chattering on the phone the entire time. Can't blame him, since even so-called educated people don't think twice nowadays about talking while driving-- putting everyone else at extreme risk, while they sit safely behind airbags. The vehicle was clean and well-maintained from inside. The exteriors were muddy but that could be just the famous Pune rains... The billing was metered and the driver was happy to return the change. We let him keep it, which he was happier to do :-)

A city with large student and senior-citizen population like Pune needs more such services. One hopes they maintain punctuality and discipline. Reliability and affordability are the #1 expectations from a radio taxi service. Good companies like Spot Taxi in Bangalore have died once their taxis started to come late or not at all. So far, it looks like Wings Taxis are on the right track. We wish them luck!

Bookings are made on a single central number +91 20 40100100 (14 lines)and this is a24X7 service

You can also make bookings (or complaints) at their website

The charges are a bit high at Rs.16 per Km (in most cities the average is Rs.12/Km) but that will come down with more competition. Minimum fare is Rs.50 (for 3KM) which seems fair. Given the low cost of running taxis on LPG, the high taxi fares are nothing but extortion in all cities. Until now, we even got rickety unsafe vehicles for that price but at least that is changing now.

PS: Atul's blog seems to echo most of these views. Have a look!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Office 2010: The Movie

Not generally a big fan of Microsoft, but this trailer.. ermmm.. advertisement for the Office 2010 suite hits the spot. Plus, let's face it, they did cleanse a lot of their sins with Office 2007. Right?

Pump up the volume and watch!

PS: Here's more from the creator of this movie.