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Metered taxis pose threat to autorickshaws

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COMFORTABLE RIDE: Call taxis of late have become the preferred choice of travellers over autorickshaws.
COMFORTABLE RIDE: Call taxis of late have become the preferred choice of travellers over autorickshaws.

Yogendra Kalavalapalli

For the harried traveller in the city, the taxis appear to be god-sent

HYDERABAD: Metered taxis operating out of call centres have suddenly grabbed everyone’s attention. Call taxis are slowly taking over the city, though they may not be able to nudge out the ubiquitous autowallah into a corner.

Beginning with Dot Cabs in March this year, at least eight operators have begun operations in the city.

The launch of corporate style taxi services by big companies has prompted local taxi operators to jump on to the bandwagon by floating companies to offer their services at competitive prices. Most of the taxis in the city are luxury cars with features like centralised meter fare tracking system, call centre facility and advanced security features like GPS tracking and alarm in case of emergency. For the harried traveller in Hyderabad, the taxis appear to be god-sent, as not many have good opinion about the auto driver. Total lack of etiquette, unorganised style of functioning, tampered fare meters of autorickshaws seemed to have worked in favour of metered taxi services.

Contended lot

Call taxi operators are quite a contended lot nowadays, notwithstanding the drop in number of air passengers due to ongoing crisis in the aviation sector. The demand is so much that sometimes, the operators say, they are unable to provide services. “We are getting more bookings than our capacity,” says Director of Yellow Taxi Private Limited N.K. Sultania.

Brash auto drivers

And auto drivers continue to be in news for all the wrong reasons. Brash and arrogant behaviour, verbal abuse, non-compliance of traffic rules and rash-driving, the list of complaints is never ending against them.

“A courteous cab driver who drives safely goes a long way in reassuring customers, especially women during night,” says Mani G, a software engineer. Cab drivers credit their companies for training them in polished customer interaction, etiquette, communication skills, and personal hygiene. “The cab drivers are very orderly and drive responsibly. They conduct themselves in a professional manner,” feels Meduri Siva, an IT professional. Autorickshaws are prone to accidents, he points out.

Safety

Often there have been reports of autorickshaws overturning due to skidding, or bags being snatched from passengers and in this background call taxis for sure are having a field day. With more companies jumping into the fray, the city’s denizens seem to be having the last laugh.


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