On a trip to Gurgaon recently I had a funny experience. I go there for training at Hdfc bank. Since the Gurgaon addresses are not normally easy to find, we use 1 or 2 known private taxies. So one such guy (typical Delhi name: Lucky) has a cell number and I call him. He confirms at 23:04 hrs. that he will be there in 5-7 minutes. I had just called him from the aircraft as soon as I was allowed to use the cell. Knowing Delhi language by now, my heart sank. After 3 phone calls he reaches there at 23:40 hrs. Good old Indica, but as usual a lil smelly and poorly maintained, but no irritants. He started the a/c after being gently reminded.

Usual excuses – traffic jam, …The truth is these guys do not start on time, and hate paying Rs. 80 parking charges. Then we go to Gurgaon and it takes him a little time to find the place – the very reason why we use these ‘known’ taxis is almost defeated, but he recovers and finds the place. Not bad. How much is the bill? Rs. 630. Only. Next morning I find out that the ‘regular’ ‘known’ taxi fellow was asking for Rs. 800. Ouch!

So the next day when I had to leave I skip the ‘known’ taxi and decided to call India’s premium taxi service Meru. Though getting through on the phone was difficult – and them not having my details was amusing (I have used their services more than 30 times, and have always called from the same telephone number) the taxi reached at 1.30 pm – the time that he was supposed to reach. Nice Indigo vehicle spacious seating. Reached airport in a jiffy. Bill Rs. 430. I started which was the premium service and which was the premium price!

The day prior to my Delhi visit I was in Chennai. A different city and a different taxi experience. Knowing Chennai taxis i took a ‘pre-paid’. An old Amby, it failed to start – and got pushed for starting! However once it started it went smoothly. No cribs he took me straight to the location.

Then i called for a ‘call -taxi’ an animal in Chennai which may perhaps have tamed their infamous ‘auto cousins’. He took me from Besant Nagar to Nungambakkam. It is a radio taxi and he keeps talking on the radio phone – makes you jittery – but the taxi was in poor condition too – so you did not know about what to worry.

Evening Nungambakkam – Airport trip was by ‘auto’ who charged me Rs. 200 (a prepaid taxi which is normally at a premium would have cost me Rs. 250!) – but took me to the airport in time.

Different cities, different taxi drivers, different experiences! And at Navi Mumbai my taxi in the morning is a ‘black and yellow’ who takes me peacefully to the airport. Charges me Rs. 400 – immaterial of the time of the day/night. Return is by Meru or Mega – Rs. 460-Rs. 490 depending on the traffic.

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