Cabs are an integral part of a city’s culture, its social history — and its very identity. New York City’s yellow cabs, London’s black cabs or Mumbai’s black & yellow top-metered taxis cabs define those cities’ ethos to a great extent. Delhi has long been known for its age-old black-and-yellow Ambassador taxis. But no longer. In the last couple of years, the Capital’s cab culture has changed, thanks to the arrival of Radio Taxis.
Today, there are about 900 Radio Taxis on the city’s roads. “We get around 3,000 calls a day. We have a fleet of about 240 taxis, which do 1,200 trips a day; we plan to add another 300 taxis by early next year,” says Vindo Mishra, General Manager, Mega Cab, the city’s oldest Radio Taxi service.
So, what makes these cabs so special? “Once I left my mobile in Easy Cab’s Radio Taxi; in a few hours I got a call from the cab company and my mobile was returned to me,” says A.K. Bhandari, former DG, Geological Survey Of India. In fact, these cabs are particularly popular with women. “Women form 55 percent of our customer base,” says Ashok Vashist, COO, Easy Cabs, which has around 350 Radio Taxis on the city’s roads.
Radio Taxis are about more than just comfort travelling; they have changed the way Delhiites feel about their city — and they take pride in the fact that Delhi was the first city in India to have Radio Taxis. “After the Metro, it is the best thing that’s happened to the city’s transport system,” says Monica Singh, an advertising professional.
Radio Taxi operators say what makes their taxis safer and faster is the rigorous process of recruitment of drivers and the fact that every taxi has a GPS (Global Positioning system)-enabled GPRS (General Pocket Radio Services) technology.