Over the years, the 2,000-strong fleet of blue-and-steel-grey air-conditioned "Fiats" has gone from a centralised system, operating from a single location to a service largely run by private permit holders. Cool Cabs, started by Shanker Agunde, claims to own 50 vehicles. The service has a flag-down rate of Rs 16.50 and Rs 12.50 for every kilometre. Having started with a single vehicle and an investment of Rs 80,000, the fleet now includes Ford Fiestas, Tata Indicas and Toyota Innovas. Reacting to Mumbai's new corporatised fleets.
Agunde says, "We have built a dedicated database of customers over the years, so there is nothing to worry about." A month ago, the company launched a cab pooling system. Having already received 150 registrations, the company is working on its next big plan - Maxi cabs, which will comprise vehicles like Innovas and Qualis, which can accommodate six to eight passengers at a go.
"The market has been growing at about 30 per cent, while we have been growing at 55 per cent," said Dev Amritesh, vice president of marketing, Domino's Pizza India.
Arun Sabnis, managing trustee of Fulora Foundation (an NGO) decided to start Gold Cabs, a private taxi service in 2006, when he realised most taxi drivers are saddled with repaying vehicle loans. As per his plan the drivers would hand over half their daily earnings to the company. Today, Gold's 200-strong fleet receives 1,200 calls a day. With Rs 6,000 per vehicle, coming in from on-vehicle advertisements and tie-ups for corporate ferry services Sabnis has managed to break even and is looking at putting in place welfare measures for drivers.