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‘Meru Cabs Supports Supreme Court Ruling’
CEO of Meru Cabs, Siddhartha Pahwa, one of the leading taxi service providers in the country, speaks to BW Businessworld abour the ban on diesel cars and its impact on the industry as a whole
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After a Supreme Court order banning diesel vehicles from plying as local taxis from 01 May in National Capital Region (NCR), BW Businessworld in an exclusive interview, spoke to the CEO of Meru Cabs, Siddhartha Pahwa, one of the leading taxi service providers in the country about his views and its impact on the industry as a whole.
What will be the impact of this ban on cab owners and people?
The law of not allowing diesel cabs for point to point trips in NCR has been in existence since 1998 by Supreme Court. The SC after giving adequate notice of 4 months has now enforced the same. The owners have willfully committed the act of buying these cars and hence they were aware of the consequences. There are enough CNG taxis in NCR so general commuters should not get affected.
How much fleet size of Meru Cabs gets affected by this order of Supreme Court?
Meru as a responsible corporate has only CNG cabs under its network. Hence, Meru cabs will not get affected by this order. In order to provide good quality services to commuters in NCR, Meru is running all its cars with double drivers and will also increase capacity in next few weeks.
Do you want to push for the timely phasing out of the diesel and petrol cabs or do you support this judgment?
We fully support this judgment of SC - as this rule existed from quite long, we were ready to follow all the norms regulated by the government. For the betterment, we have to follow the government rule which will definitely provide safe and clean environment to citizens. All cabs of Meru are CNG operated. Meru will continue its 25 per cent cashback scheme to support Delhi commuters.
How many drivers are going to lose their job as per your statistics?
No driver is going to cut-down the job, as the market potential is high and the demand for driver is much more higher as per the current demand and supply situation of the Radio Taxi industry. With this, we appeal the drivers to join Meru cabs. We’ll definitely support them and we welcome all the drivers to come forward and join Meru’s family.
How are you going to support, relocate and rehabilitate them?
Meru cabs has many businesses like inter-city and carpool services etc. If drivers from other platforms need job opportunities, we will provide them with many employment opportunities.
What are your views on surge pricing during odd-even and without it?
So with the odd-even or without it - Meru do not believe in Surge Pricing and Ride Time charge, we do not follow these additional/hidden charge practices with our consumers. We follow respective state transport authority prescribed fares for Meru Cabs.
The fares vary from city to city, as per the government norms. As we believe that innovations and expanding the technology is the key point to any industry; we have come up with the estimated fare feature on the Meru Cabs app to give the traveler more specific detail about the cost he/she is going to pay after the completion of the trip.
Is it a level playing field for you along with Uber and Ola?
This is just one step towards creating a level field, there are many other points to address and make a taxi industry a level playing field. However, we welcome SC rule as it adds a value to the environment and the Delhi commuters.
Your expansion plans, if any?
Meru will continue to expand within existing markets and the Tier II cities especially in Delhi. We are planning to add another 1000 cabs by this year.