Mumbai: Union-backed Ola-Uber killer promises customers fixed no-surge prices

May 08, 2018, 10:12 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

Backed by a logistics firm, new company has the support of 10 transport unions, and promises fixed no-surge prices

CM Devendra Fadnavis will launch the service on May 12
CM Devendra Fadnavis will launch the service on May 12

Fed up with surge pricing? Your saviour is just round the corner and will arrive at your location in a few minutes. Sahyadri Smart Safe Cabs, S3 Cabs for short - a new aggregator floated by the city's cab owners and drivers - is revving to enter the transport market this weekend. It has some unique features for customer safety and service, which are currently not offered by any other industry player.

To be formally launched by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on May 12, it has the support of 10 transport unions, including the Maharashtra Tourist Permit Union, as well as MNS, and is backed by Sohel Kazani, owner of transport and logistics firm Bharat Freight Group. Also, the company already has a database of 700 drivers ready to get cracking.

Customers can also book a passing cab by entering its registration number on the aggregator app
Customers can also book a passing cab by entering its registration number on the aggregator app

Safety first
"No surge pricing, no pooling and no profits. We are a conglomerate of foot soldiers, and we know how to run the business better than any other aggregators. A few key features of S3 Cabs include not charging drivers for the first Rs 1,800 collection, and after that just 10 per cent. There will also be no surge pricing or pooling to give commuters a fair deal. If we invest in trust and transparency, we will earn it back. That is our USP. This is more of a CSR initiative to give back to my transport fraternity," said Kazani at his Andheri office ahead of the launch.

Himself a logistics and transport veteran involved in international port projects, Kazani has invested Rs 1 crore in the venture. "We have been working on this for over a year, and we are abiding by all guidelines of Maharashtra Taxi Rules 2017. The company will not be run for profit; it's a part of CSR for my several companies, so that there is no loss to the driver partners or to customers. On one side, it will look after the welfare of drivers, and on the other, give customers a robust choice," Kazani told mid-day.

"We have worked out the highest standards of customer safety. But as every good thing comes at a price, so will this. All cabs will be tracked by GPS. A team of 120-odd guards will be ready at any given moment to reach the passenger within 20 minutes in case s/he presses the SOS button. But to prevent misuse of this service, it will come at a cost of Rs 800. There are several other safety features, such as recording the journey details."

Book on the go
"A new feature is the concierge app that will allow the local paanwala or watchman to book a cab just by putting the mobile number and destination. Also, if you see a cab passing and want to book it, you may enter its number, and it will be booked," explained Kazani.

He added that there will also be a team dedicated to book the cabs. "Outside a busy place, like Siddhivinayak temple, our team will help you to book and get a cab, so that the customer does not have to bother about when and where the cab will arrive."

Praful Shinde of Maharashtra Tourist Permit Union said a lot of groundwork has been done. "We have been using app cabs for so long now. But so far, there is no fixed fare for destinations. S3 Cabs has done that - fixed rates for fixed routes. It will launch in three models to start with," he said, adding, "We are launching in over 100 cities, starting with Mumbai on May 12."

Also Read: Mumbai To Get A New Cab Aggregator In S3 Cabs Next Week

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