Cabs4Hire: Will it navigate through the chockablock cab crossroad?

2nd Feb 2012
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Taxi-for-hire has been like the mother of all business models off late. Many other players like Meru, EasyCab and OlaCab cater to this need of a ‘better transport option’. This is unarguably the need of the hour and there is space for multiple players but finding the correct channel will be of essence. The first thing that strikes about Cabs4Hire is the name which appends a lot of stick-value to it. All these ventures have a thing in common; they all operate in Tier 1 cities only. We got in touch with Ashish, founder at Cabs4Hire, to take a taxi ride across this zebra crossing.Directly tearing in to the meat of the topic; how is Cabs4Hire different? “Even in bigger cities, cab services like local use (half day or full day) or outstation (like Bangalore to Mysore) remain unorganized with opaque pricing and notoriety with respect to time. Increasingly, the airports in bigger cities are moving away from cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad or the upcoming airport at Navi Mumbai. Addressing these customer needs, we are providing a technologically enabled organized solution for a convenient and reliable cab experience for the three key services: Local use, outstation and airport pickup and drop”, says Ashish.

Reliability is the main thing Cabs4hire banks on. This can be gauged from the fact that the taxi booked through Cabs4Hire would be waiting for the customer 45 minutes prior to the set appointment! The customer gets a confirmation call the previous evening and as soon as the car reaches the appointed address. Also, the full details about the driver are provided to ensure a hassle free experience.

Founded by 4 versatile team members, Cabs4Hire is currently present in Bangalore and Pune. Being able to choose the car model which ranges from a Tata Indica to a BMW to a Jaguar is something which would definitely psyche a customer. A random search makes it very difficult to find the availability of the premium cars but with a fleet of 300 and 200 cars in Bangalore and Pune respectively, Cabs4Hire, a bootstrapped startup has made considerable inroads into these markets.

Apart from reliability and value pricing, cab companies have been trying to figure out the car pooling conundrum but none have found

any success up till now. “We like the idea of car-pooling from the perspective of reducing cost of customer and pollution. However, implementing car-pooling would require technology handling complex operations (ability to meet same customer needs in nearby area) and very large scale of operations (in terms of number of bookings and cabs). Presently, no player has the ability to crack the carpooling puzzle in a meaningful way. After 3-4 years into operations, we may look into providing such service”, explains Ashish.Cabs4Hire is going in a slow and controlled manner as far as expanding is concerned mainly because they’d like to consolidate their position in the markets they already exist in. “Our initial focus is to generate enquiries and to have repeat customers. We believe that word of mouth publicity by a satisfied customer is the best marketing for our business” says Ashish about marketing.

Like most of the startups, stitching up the right team while expanding is one of the key obstacles in the way of Cabs4Hire. Apart from this, “Finding willing cab owners (who are mostly not well educated) and making them aware of the importance of customer needs like quality, punctuality and reliability is a puzzle which isn’t very well sorted out”, ponders Ashish. And when one comes to think about this, training personnel who haven’t had a formal education and still run according to the old India rules is indeed a hurdle.

In this fight till the black and yellow checkered flag, Cabs4Hire will be claiming the spot on the premise of reliability which can be given a spin by trying out their service here.

- Jubin Mehta

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