Meru Cabs has partnered with France’s Taxis G7 and has launched eCabs, a global alliance of radio taxi operators which will provide cab services to foreign travelers in India and to Indian travelers going abroad through a mobile app.
For example, a traveler going to France can book a cab through the app and Taxis G7 will provide the service, while in India it will be provided by Meru.
Currently, the eCab service is present in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, India and Ireland with plans to enter three more countries in Europe soon. By the end of 2015, eCab has plans expand to cover 50 cities, in 9 countries, and 3 continents, with 40,000 taxis.
Commenting on the development, Meru Cabs chief operating officer Prem Kalliath told MediaNama that eCabs initiative is fashioned along the lines of Star Alliance in the airlines industry and seeks to provide cab services of a certain quality of standard through a dedicated supply.
eCabs has two versions of the app, a basic version which allows immediate booking and cash payments, and a premium version which allows pre-booking, credit card payments, choice in vehicles and other options. The app does not have a digital wallet for payments. “Finding an international wallet service is a bit of a challenge, but credit cards will work,” Kalliath added.
Ola’s alliance with other operators
Interestingly in January, it was reported that Ola and South East Asia-based GrabTaxi were in talks for a global taxi alliance to take on rival Uber. The alliance was apparently being driven by SoftBank Capital and San-Francisco-based Flywheel.
In September this year, Uber’s rival in China Didi Kuaidi invested in Ola’s latest $225 million round of funding. Didi has also invested $100 million into Uber’s biggest US competitor, Lyft. And it also participated in a $350 million round of funding for GrabTaxi, a rival in Southeast Asia.
Criteria for eligibility eCab
– Cab service must be legally authorized to operate in the country. In the case of India, the service must follow radio taxi guidelines laid down by the government. Earlier this month the ministry of road transport and highways issued an advisory that companies such as Uber and Ola will have to get a license under the Motor Vehicles Act from the state transport authority (STA) area where they’re operating.
– Must have a dedicated supply of taxis. Taxi drivers can work only with one taxi operator and no other. Note that players such as Uber and Ola operate as technology companies which aggregate drivers who can switch from service to service. Although, both companies have started charging drivers Rs 300 to prevent them from using other aggregating services.
Travelers abroad might find these partnerships useful as it avoids downloading multiple applications when they are in a new city and help them use the local cab-hailing services there. In addition to integrated apps and information sharing, the companies could also share revenues when a cab is booked internationally on their apps.
Image source: Flickr User Justin Morgan