Press Releases : English lessons, health camps for private chauffeurs

English lessons, health camps for private chauffeurs
September 10, 2007 4:50 PM

While the new private taxi services are gradually growing in the city, initial hiccups are still being worked out. Meru Taxis, which began six months ago, is trying to get its chauffeurs to learn English and behave in a service-oriented fashion.

"Our taxis are connected to the call centre by radio and they get requests for customers on their screens. But the messages are in English and the chauffeurs have to understand the language," said Neeraj Gupta, managing director of V-Link Taxis Private Ltd, which runs Meru.

Meru already has 150 taxis on the roads and is planning to have another 100 in a few months. "Business is good," said Gupta but chauffeurs need to be trained. He said that getting chauffeurs to speak and learn English and be friendly to passengers has proven to be slightly difficult. "However, this obstacle will be overcome," he said.
  
Meru and Gold Taxi Service are two of the largest private taxi operators in Mumbai. The Gold service, which began a year ago, is also progressing well, according to owners. It had faced initial problems with getting licenses.
   
Arun Sabnis, of Fulora Fountain, which runs the service, said he is contracting on a scheme that tries to make it easy for chauffeurs to adjust.
  
"We have regular health camps to look into eye problems and bronchial disease, illness that plague taxi chauffeurs," he said.
  
The Gold taxi service also has 150 cabs on the roads. The owners said they are planning an expansion, just like Meru. Sabnis is expecting to add 100 more vehicles to the fleet in the next few months.
  
Gupta said, "V-Link charges chauffeurs Rs 500 per day to hire a vehicle. This leaves each chauffeur a proof of it of Rs 600 to Rs 700 per day, but he has to pay for the CNG. We maintain the vehicle, but the chauffeur has to pay for the fuel."

Gold uses a different service model. "We aim to be chauffeur friendly. We look after the servicing and the chauffeur shares his profits with us 50-50," said Sabnis. "This gives him a daily net take-home of Rs 600 to Rs 800," he claimed.