Meru Cabs Tries to Race Ahead while Ola and Uber Stall
Meru Cabs slashes fares in Delhi-NCR to retain passengers amid driver protests
Hyderabad: Taxi operator Meru Cabs has slashed fares in the DelhiNational Capital Region by almost 30%, seeking to take advantage of the struggles of Ola and Uber to retain passengers amid driver protests.
For users selecting the ‘Now’ option on the Meru app, a taxi will be available at ₹ 16/km. The government-approved rate is ₹ 23/km for day rides and ₹ 28.75/km during night.
Drivers plying for Ola and Uber are protesting over several issues, primarily related to incentives, causing disruptions in the services. Delhi-NCR also witnessed a 50% price hike in Uber ride-time fare in early January. “We saw an opportunity to improve our execution in city services,” said Nilesh Sangoi, chief executive of Meru Cabs, which has recently registered almost a five-time increase in cab bookings in Delhi. “We saw a lot of customers coming back to use Meru, and we have reduced the prices to provide affordability to our growing customer base.” The new Meru fare comes with no surge price, no ride-time charge, no base fare and no night-time charge, the company said. The minimum fare is ₹ 48.
On the other hand, Uber’s base fare for a sedan taxi in Delhi is ₹ 40, with ₹ 6/km up to 20 km and ₹ 12/km after 20 km and ₹ 1.5 per minute. Ola’s base fare for a sedan taxi in Delhi is ₹ 75, with ₹ 10/km up to 20 km and ₹ 14/km after 20 km, and ₹ 1/ minute.
“In the transportation business, there is not much loyalty to the brand and it all comes down to which service is cheaper,” said a transport analyst.
“Meru doesn’t follow surge pri- cing, whereas Ola and Uber have some form of surge pricing, which increases the total fare.”
Meru plans to introduce offers for commuters in Hyderabad this week. “We will look at other cities as and when we see an opportunity. It has to work for driver partners, the consumers and the company,” said Sangoi.