Radio cab service provider Meru Cabs has launched a carpool service in India, which will be available in all of Meru’s 23 operational cities. It has also tied up with Paytm for payment options. Aimed at reducing the one person per vehicle situation, Meru says that users will be able to save costs on personal transport through its service, as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint.
The carpool option also lets users search for and book trips for the future (up to 1 week in advance) on destinations of their choice, as well as pay by cash, Citrus and Mobikwik wallets. The company also offers rides on inter-city travel and has an ‘in case of emergency’ button where users can store 2 registered numbers for emergency situations. Other than this, the Meru app also has a Meru Eve service which employs only women drivers and is targeted at women passengers, currently only available in the Delhi NCR area, with plans to expand to other cities.
Meru’s $50 million funding
In March this year, Meru Cabs raised $50 million (~ Rs 300 crore) from existing investor India Value Fund Advisors. At that point, India Value Fund had over 80% stake in Meru Cabs, and was expected to divest a part of their stake for the additional funding. In March, it claimed to have a fleet of 12,000 cars, out of which it owned 6,000. However, last month, Meru Cabs told MediaNama that it had 20,000 registered vehicles on its platform across 7 cities.
Citrus Pay tie up
In October last year, Meru Cabs had tied-up with digital payments solutions provider Citrus Pay to release an in-app prepaid wallet to offer cashless taxi rides. Earlier in the year, the company had asked the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) to extend its recurring billing guidelines to foreign players like Uber as well, thereby creating a level playing field among domestic and international players. This led to the RBI issuing a directive that entities which route online billing internationally for goods and services purchased online using Indian cards, need to include a second factor of authentication, and route transactions through a bank in India.
Meru offered free data card connectivity in cabs in 2011
Interestingly, in 2011, MTS (Shyam Sistema) had tied with Meru Cabs to offer passengers free data card connectivity on the move in Delhi. MTS and Meru Cabs intended to roll out the same in other cities including Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad but we’re not sure of its current status. Customers needed to ask the cab driver for an MBlaze dongle for free surfing in the cab.
– In April this year, Naspers owned online travel company Ibibo Group launched a carpooling app called Ryde. Unlike some of its competitors like BlaBlaCar and Tripda, Ryde offered both intra-city and inter-city rides. Passengers needed to fill in details like travel route and time and submit, following which a list of drivers for the selected route would be provided to the passenger.
– In November last year, Rocket Internet backed ridesharing service Tripda launched its operations in India. Tripda said that they would initially focus on Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi, although any one outside these cities would also be able to use the service.