I started off as a big fan of Meru….a few years back, not sure about the dates but I think this is circa 2006-7. Used it extensively by standing in a queue at the airport, called them in the morning for going to the airport. Outside of Mumbai, it was clearly THE choice – so Bengaluru and Delhi Meru was by far the default option.

Then it became difficult to get them at the airport…the call center would say ‘there is no taxi available’ – at 12 am for a 4am airport drop. I would take a black and yellow taxi and drive past 4-5 Meru taxis parked in Nerul…I wondered, but did not do too much research, just shrugged.

Now I was in Bengaluru..let a white cab go and took a green one! Had to go to Hebbal flyover…it cost me Rs. 450..or thereabouts, if I had gone to Brigade Road it would have cost me Rs. 750 – thanks to the traffic.

For making a trip from Hebbal flyover to MG Road I called Meru…and I was told…’if you call for a taxi..there is a Rs. 50 booking charges’..The bill was Rs. 156 and ended up paying Rs. 50. Well I could have taken an auto for Rs. 90….but that was it.

I took an auto from MG Road to Brigade Road…and since I was at the other end of the road, Rs. 40 seemed justified. When I wanted to get from Brigade Road to MG Road..the auto guy wanted Rs. 50. I said no just because the auto driver spoke in the non local language!  One senior cop in Bengaluru had said ‘trouble creating autos in Bengaluru do not speak in Kannada’ LOL. The rick i took charged me Rs. 20….hmmm 🙂 that is perhaps the rick behaviour in Bengaluru!

Then my sister wanted a Meru taxi to go to the airport….I told her about the Rs. 50. The call center guy said…PLEASE DO NOT PAY…the driver said…’here is the bill, please protest with the company’….

So when we landed..we did not try calling Meru….took a black and yellow guy….and reached home…

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  1. Hi Subra,

    I have been staying in Bangalore for last 9 years and have mixed experience regarding Auto and Private Taxi. I prefer to use Volvo bus facility wherever possible and avoid the arguments with Auto/Taxi fellows.

    Regards

    Atul

  2. Hmm… same here. Meru has started disappointing of late. They didn’t turn up on 2 occasions even after successful booking. On one of the occasions the cab driver was sleeping after getting drunk and requested me to not report the incident to Meru call center.

    Been a resident of B’lore for last 8 years. Auto’s here suck big time but like Atul said volvo are a good option.

    Regards

  3. Of late, the call centre folks mention that taxis are not available after confirming that the distance being travelled is not long enough..

  4. If you are in Bangalore the public transport is more convenient though its always crowded. Try avoiding autos/taxis, most of the drivers are cheats. I have had very bad experience with them and i prefer the public transport.

  5. Vasanta Krishnamurthy

    My dear Monyda!
    I take the liberty of calling you so because you so good in ‘Money Matters’ and also because of Bongy influence!
    I usually take an auto while commuting alone. To my experience a mohamaddan auto driver in Banglore are really good. They choose the short route when directed and take you you really safe even if it is late in the evening. They invriablly address you as Amma. I also like the share auto system in Ranchi really works out cheap: there is a mini, midi and a big size (dugduggi) auto available! Real fuel and cost efficient!

  6. I had a nerve-wrecking experience with Meru . Not once , but twice. Once I had to take the afternoon flight to Mumbai from Delhi. Got a confirmation form Meru at 11 a.m that the cab will arrive at 1:30 p.m . At 1:00 , since I did not get any sms from Meru, I called up the call centre, only to be told that there was no such booking. Well , fortunatley was able to arrange a local cab . Another time , which was over a year ago, Meru was to pick me up from New Delhi Railway Station, again at 2 p.m, and this time , it was late by an hour and that too after multiple phone calls .
    Now, I only travel with the local cabs. Once bitten , no, twice bitten, always shy now .

  7. i used meru in 2007 for a daily distance of just 6kms one way for a whole month or so. today they dont even guarantee a booking. i have stopped using them. infact i try and book mega and meru both and cancel one of them on whim if they both turn up.pay them back in their own currency. for real urgencies,i prefer guptaji in kaali peeli.dependable,even if the upholstery stinks a bit

  8. meru started truely well making you esp the female travellers safe..its just the dilution in quality for them as the demand has multiplied so no worries…

  9. its not a demand problem .it is a supply problem. the employees got shiv sena /mns unionised.we know where that will lead to

  10. The only reason I still use them is the facility to pay by card – I travel frequently on business and being in the Rs 700 range in Bangalore usually have 10-12k stuck with reimbursements every month. I dont mind the float, the issue is more of keeping track of when it got reimbursed etc – now just charge it to the corporate card and submit the bill I have transferred the headache. Best experience in Bangalore – try the KSTDC cabs in the airport – are usually 1 taxi guys who work very hard to earn their keep and have paid money upfront to KSTDC. In Mumbai, experience with Easy cabs has been lot better from airport atleast.

  11. I use Meru cabs very often. Out here in Mumbai, I think its the best option. Yes at times its difficult to get a Meru cab, so I keep other options ready.
    There was an article today in DNA with regard to the convenience charge, stating the reason for the extra charge.

    (The move is aimed at discouraging call centre bookings, as the management wants to decrease human interface and automatise booking services through its website which will be re-launched in late January. A commuter will be able to check a Meru cab’s availability and also make a booking within a few minutes on the website.
    Meru’s chief executive officer Rajesh Puri told DNA that under the present system, when a person places an enquiry on the website, it is processed by a person from the call centre. To speed up the process, an automatic system that will function online is being introduced.
    “This system is non-intrusive as compared to the call centre method, under which a person has to wait on the call for long before his ride is confirmed. The idea is to encourage people to use technology.”
    Presently, Meru’s Mumbai call centre receives about 15,000-18,000 calls a day. Of these, 10,000-14,000 calls are for bookings, while 2,000-3,000 are for simple enquiries. Puri said it will be difficult for Meru to handle so many calls once further expansion of its fleet takes place.
    Hence this online booking system, which the CEO insisted can handle a substantial number of bookings without being overloaded, is being introduced. The convenience charge will not be applicable if a commuter flags a cab on the road or books it at the airport.
    The new website is likely to be launched in the second half of January and the convenience charge is likely to be introduced “in the first quarter” of the year. The company is yet to obtain official permissions from the transport department.)

  12. Meru has to understand one thing. Other players also learn. There is a guy near my house who has 6 cars on rent..he offers me AIRCON Indica / Indigo within the city limits @ 8/9 Rs. per km..without a minimum per day (normally it is 250km per day)..does airport drop and airport pick up AT RATES LOWER THAN MERU..and the car is in good condition too. He will also pick up the luggage from my house, me from my office,..then leave some purchases back at my house after dropping me at the airport!! He has 8 drivers….so availability is not an issue. Available on a call, I have his mobile number. I need to give him a few hours notice that is all..:).

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