TaxiForSure Migrates Users To Ola Accounts In 22 Cities

When Ola acquired TaxiForSure , the key question was whether the two brands will live separately or will they be merged?

While the Ola / TaxiForSure has already begun, TaxiForSure’s founder replacement, i.e. the CEO Arvind Singhal quit few months after the ride.

And now, TaxiForSure has announced that the company will migrate TaxiForSure accounts to Ola accounts in 22 cities including Ambala, Bhavnagar, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Hubli-Dharwad, Jabalpur, Jamnagar, Jamshedpur, Kochi, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Patnal, Raipur Ranchi etc.

The TFS credits will be transferred back to the bank accounts.

Merging  : A Good Strategy?

Merging is a dangerous game. Any industry will have 3 top brands dominating the playbook and while Ola / TFS have been there in the top race, merging will just lead to giving way to new competition.

But for Ola and TaxiForSure, these cities are not the strength areas – so it does make sense to channelize the sales/marketing/operations and take on Uber, which is building $1Bn war chest in India.

For Tier-1 cities like Bangalore, NCR, Mumbai etc – it surely doesn’t make sense. What are your thoughts?

Helpchat Appoints Former TFS Head Of Finance Deena Jacob As CFO

Personal assistant app Helpchat has appointed former TaxiForSure finance head Deena Jacob to the post of chief financial officer.

Deena Jacob

Helpchat, formerly Akosha, transitioned from being an online customer feedback platform to a chat-based personal assistant app.

Deena headed an 80-person multi-city finance team while at TaxiForSure, and held the post there until the Ola acquisition in April 2015.

Helpchat helps brands interact with consumers by giving them access info related to DTH recharge, tech support, travel booking, holiday guidance, grocery, food, shopping, etc.

Delhi HC Asks City Govt To Do Away With Ban On Taxi Aggregators

The Delhi High Court has asked the city government to remove the ban imposed on app-based taxi aggregator citing that the companies cannot be blamed for the misdeeds of drivers.

olacabs

Justice Manmohan said that all-India permits (AIP) were issued by government authorities, therefore burden should not be put on taxi aggregators in case the driver did something illegal.

However, when it came to Ola cabs operating diesel taxis in Delhi, the court ordered the company that it must comply with regulation to run all vehicles on CNG or not run at all.

The court recognised that app-based taxi aggregators utilize technology that is being employed the world over and that they are a boon for customers. It also lauded them for utilizing GPS and reducing the number of private vehicles on the road.

TaxiForSure CEO Arvind Singhal Resigns

Arvind Singhal, CEO of TaxiForSure has quit the company four months after the took up the post citing personal reasons.

Arvind Singhal

Singhal was appointed as CEO of the company in March after Ola acquired it for $200 million. He joined TFS in October 2014 as its COO and served in that position up until he became CEO.

Pallav Singh, who currently is the SVP of operations at Ola will take over Singhal’s role as CEO of TFS.

The development comes at a time when top executives at TFS are calling it quits. Amol Patil, who headed engineering quit in May this year, Amitava Ghosh who was the chief technology officer and Hari T.N who was the chief people officer left in March.

Further,  CFO Ganesh Venkataraman, CMO Randeep Singh and product management head Nitin Pulyani have also departed from TaxiForSure in recent times.

The developments raise the question of whether Ola is working to integrate TaxiForSure within itself, despite the company stating that TFS would remain an independent entity at the time of the acquisition.

Consolidation seems to be the smarter option since both companies offer pretty much the same service to customers. Further, with Uber rapidly scaling up its operations in India, Ola is going to need all the help it can get to ward off the attack.

TaxiForSure recently made news after one of its driver in Delhi was found masturbating while driving by a female passenger. The incident was one in a long list of controversies that has marred the online taxi industry.

In A New Low, A TaxiForSure Driver Was Found Masturbating While Driving

C for Cabs and C for controversies. The online taxi industry has been marred with controversies ranging from bans to now, a driver who was found masturbating while driving.

The Women Passenger's Facebook Post
The Women Passenger’s Facebook Post

TaxiForSure has blacklisted the driver – but is that really the only solution? Shouldn’t the company file a case against the driver and have his license cancelled? Unless they go all-in against such drivers, taxis remain unsafe option for women passengers.

TaxiForSure And Ola Integration Starts to Happen [And Uber Trolls]

Users of Ola can now book TaxiForSure cabs directly from within the Ola app.

‘TFS Hatchback’ will appear as a new category on the Ola app, allowing customers to book them the same way they book any other cab through the app.

TFS through Ola

The feature will go live for users in Delhi and Mumbai at first, followed by its roll out in other cities over the next few weeks.

The integration will mean Ola customers will have access to more cabs from TFS, in effect helping cut down waiting periods and reduce non-availability.

All TFS rides booked through the Ola app will have to be paid for in cash only and standard TaxiForSure fares will be applicable for these rides.

Ola acquired TaxiForSure back in March this year, with the idea that a combined entity would have a better chance of taking on SF-based rival Uber.

Uber Trolls

While both companies maintain that they will continue to function as separate entities, integrations such as these could be the start of a combined taxi aggregator platform.

Bookings through the new integration will be available only for the Ride Now option, and users will be able to share their trip with friends and family for safety reasons as well.

Delhi HC Lifts Ban On Ola And TaxiForSure

App-based taxi aggregators Ola and TaxiForSure can now operate legally in the city of Delhi after the High Court set aside the government’s order rejecting their license applications.

olacabs

The Delhi Transport Department had rejected their license applications on the grounds that they did not provide sworn affidavits stating they were complying with the December ban.

The Court said that the reason for not issuing licences to Ola and TaxiForSure was not valid as there is no need to furnish a sworn affidavit for the purpose of license application.

Justice S Muralidhar said that if the Delhi government felt that the two companies weren’t meeting the requirements under the modified Radio Taxi Scheme, fresh communications should be sent.

He also found the Delhi government to be at fault for not issuing any show cause notice prior to the rejection of Ola and TaxiForSure’s license applications.

Further, the court invalidated measures such as issuing of challans against Ola and TaxiForSure drivers, for not complying with the December ban.

Now Book A Ride On TaxiForSure With A Single Tap And Pay Via Paytm

TaxiForSure has unveiled its new app that allows customers to book a cab with a single tap and has also announced its partnership with Paytm, allowing customers to pay for rides through its digital wallet.

taxiforsure_thumb.png

The changes made to the app along with the partnership are in line with improving customer experience and making the process of booking and using a cab more seamless.

One Tap To Book A Cab

TFS claims that it has reduced the time it takes book a cab on its app from 15 seconds to 10 seconds. By reflecting the driver and fare details along with other inputs on one screen, tapping on the preferred ride option will immediately book the cab.

Paytm Partnership

All Paytm customers will now be able to link their wallets to their TFS account. In order to be billed through their Paytm wallets, users will have to go to the payment section of the TFS app and activate payment through Paytm.

Doing this ensures that the fare at the end of a ride is deducted directly from the rider’s Paytm wallet. A bill notification will be sent via SMS while the bill will be sent through email.

The changes to the app are being rolled out across Android, Firefox OS, iOS and Windows Phone platforms.

Can’t Block Uber, Ola Due To High Encryption Codes: ISPs

The Delhi government’s move to block the websites of taxi hailing aggregators like Ola, Uber seems to be an unsettled argument as ISPs expressed inability to block Uber, Ola due to high encryption codes.
Uber Ola TaxiForSureAmid confusion between the Delhi government, Department of Telecommunication and ISPs; the DoT on Tuesday had ordered the ISPs to block the websites and apps of Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola. The order also mentioned that the government will be liable to initiate actions under Sec 12 of the IT Act if the telecom companies and ISPs fail to block the apps.
There were media reports stating that the websites of taxi aggregators Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber is already blocked and the customers will no more be able to avail their services. The reports also quote ISP officials saying that they will only have to block the Delhi link of the websites of the companies and for the apps access can be restricted so the Delhi users won’t be able to access.
However, in a recent development, the ISPs expressed their inability to abide by the government order to block the URL of these websites. The ISPs will soon write a letter to the Department of Telecommunication regarding the same.
The ISPs can only block http sites and not the https sites due to its higher encryption codes. The ISPs cannot block the https sites of Uber and Ola, whereas TaxiForSure website can be blocked as its an http site.

Delhi Government Ordered ISPs To Block Uber, Ola, TaxiForSure Services

taxiFollowing the order from the Delhi Government, the Department of Telecommunication issues an order to Internet Service Providers to block the websites and apps of taxi hailing aggregators like Uber, TaxiForSure and Ola Cabs.
The order also mentions that the government will be liable to initiate actions under Sec 12 of the IT Act if the telecom companies and ISPs fails to block the apps.
The Financial Express reports that the department of telecommunications has already blocked the websites of taxi aggregators Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber in the city and the customers will no more be able to avail their services.
Some of the ISP has responded saying that they will only have to block the Delhi link of the websites of the companies and for the apps access can be restricted so the Delhi users won’t be able to access.
However, though there was lot of tensions going on as the ministry of IT has been asked to block the website, taxi hailing companies seem to be unaware of this recent development.
The Delhi government had ordered the web-based taxi companies to cease their services after an Uber driver raped a lady passenger in New Delhi. Soon after the government order, Uber stopped the services but resumed it in January after applying for a radio-taxi license, while Ola continued the operations.
Since then, the government has been mulling plans to block the mobile apps alleging that the companies are not complying with the government order. Recently, the Department of Electronics and  Information Technology (DEITY) had seeked views from the Transport Ministry for a country-wide ban on the apps.

We Will Onboard 20mn Customers By End Of The Year : TaxiForSure CEO, Arvind Singhal

TaxiForSure recently got acquired by rival taxi hailing service OLA, and while the company will remain independent for now, there are a lot of questions as to how things will pan out for the fledgling company in the space.
We met up with Arvind Singhal, CEO of TaxiForSure, to get the low-down on what the company’s plans are and where is it headed.
Arvind SinghalHow Independent Is TaxiForSure Post Acquisition?
TaxiForSure is going to remain as an absolutely independent entity. There’s a very clear objective, which is to be the most love brand admired by the customers. We’re also looking at acquiring customers and be known as the most economical brand. We have done that in the past, and we would continue to work towards building onto our economy platform.
We have a very different positioning in terms of our operator network, drivers and 1800+ strong team. We are present in 52 cities and we already have a whole infrastructure and ecosystem with which we are growing in the industry.
Today we have 2mn customers and we’re looking to grow it by 10x in the next one year.

Isn’t TFS Competition For OLA Then?

If you look at the industry today, we are at a very nascent stage. Just 5% – 5.5% of the taxi sector is organized and there are not more than 10mn people in the country who have taken a ride with the industry players, whereas the population of the country is over a billion people.
There’s a whole lot of room for the industry to grow and we believe that there’s a lot of work which needs to be done by both the companies.

Will TFS Target A Different Market Segment Than Ola?

We are present in 52 cities and we are looking at deepening our intrusion into these markets. We are also and are planning to enter another 7-8 cities in this quarter. With these 52 cities we cover almost 60-70 percent of urban India and there is a whole lot of potential there itself to grow our customer base.
If you take bangalore as an example, there’s a population of 10mn+ people and there’s a whole lot of them who’ve never used a cab service. Our current objective is to increase ply, provide more economical rides and get more people onboard.

What Does TFS Plan To Do With The $100mn Ola Has Allocated ?

Ola has ermarked $100mn for the growth of TFS and the task which has been charted out for us is to onboard 20mn customers by the end of the year. Where we’re going to invest this money is upgrading our technology and product, which will help us provide a great experience to our customers.
[pullquote-right] Almost 20% of our customers repeat with us every month [/pullquote-right] We are also looking at investing money in strengthening our team and are looking at hiring 150 people across various functions but primarily for the product and tech part.  There is also a plan to grow our network in all the cities we’re currently present in, and that’s how we’re going to work on investing our capital.

Has TFS Shifted Its Strategy To Onboarding Customers Rather Than Offering Discounted Rides To Existing Ones?

Since the market is grossly unpenetrated, customer acquisition needs to be kept in mind, because you need to grow the category. At the same time we also believe in providing great experience to the customer which will help us retain them.
Customer retention in our minds is a direct correlation to the experience and convenience we provide to them. Almost 20% of our customers repeat with us every month, which is a very good benchmark in our mind, and this acts like an indicator that we’re doing something right.

What Is TFS’ Plan For Long Term Sustainability?

We are working on providing the best customer experience because the most important metric in long term sustainability. Also its important that we bring our service to a lot more people and grow the category really quickly in order to boost adoption of our service.
With these two factors in mind, we are very confident that we’ll be able to sustain our business and bring a whole lot of value to our customers. We’re also bringing helping our drivers and operators grow, which basically brings sustainability to the entire ecosystem.

Does TFS Plan To Offer Services Other Than Ride Hailing?

The way i see it, TFS is a technology company and has some solid products with which we bring together the whole ecosystem of operators, drivers and customers. The market is huge and the industry is unorganized, and we have a very clear task.
We’re looking to grow our customer base to 20 mn by the year’s end and it is a lot of work serving just them, rather than defocusing and going into any other area at this point of time.

Government Mulling Pan-India Ban On Uber, Ola, TaxiForSure Apps

taxiAlleging that the companies are not complying with a ban order imposed by the Delhi government, Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) is seeking views from the Transport Ministry for a country wide ban on the apps.
All app-based cab services were banned in Delhi after an Uber cab driver was accused of raping a female passenger. The companies stopped the services for a while but resumed its operations soon after. In March, Transport Department of Delhi Government has warned Uber and Ola over resuming their taxi services in the state capital citing that the companies are not abiding by the government order, the Delhi government has requested DEITY to block the apps. But DEITY found it technically impossible to do so for one particular state, and therefore, it sought “concurrence” of the transport ministry for pan-India execution.
Stressing that the execution could only happen at the national level, a senior IT Ministry official said, “We have sought views of the Transport Ministry and are waiting for their reply.”
[source]

Why TaxiForSure Needs To Rethink Its App Experience

I have been a long time user of TaxiForSure and while the company has done some great execution pieces (for e.g. their ‘scrappy’ jingle strategy), I believe the app experience needs a rethink.
Here is why.taxiforsure-app
1. The booking process is tedious.
Pin-pointing destination during booking is too much to ask for.
Apart from the fact that not all locations are geotagged (and hence, you can’t really pinpoint them), the biggest challenge is that booking a cab on TFS (+Ola/Uber/Meru) is very often a case of ‘fastest finger first’ and you don’t want to waste time in pin-pointing the destination information.
And of course, the entire feature loses its meaning when the driver asks you where do you want to go!!
2. ‘Hatchback..’?
How many commoners understand the term ‘hatchback’? My guess is not more than 10%.
Competition Ola and Uber use terms that go very well with what customers perceive an option as (mini/X et al). Hatchback? Not really!
The thumb rule is very simple – if you are confused about the messaging, think what Steve Jobs would have done!
3. 84 seconds
The moment you book a cab, TFS starts a reverse counter that starts with 84 seconds.
In this era of massive attention deficit, 84(seconds) is TOO long a timeline for one to wait (for a status update on the booking). Why not start from 1? Why not use better messaging (for e.g. contacting nearest cab/checking status/failed/contacting another cab/dispatching rocket 🙂 …etc).
Most of the times, I stop looking at the phone (or switch to another app) whenever I encounter the 84 number.
I understand the need to show the number, but hey! it is an internal metric and shouldn’t be exposed to the customer. It does no good during the booking process.
To put it contextually, TFS could be facing inventory issue in some parts of the city (this is my perception as a customer who hasn’t managed to use 2K worth of wallet money in the last 3 months as opposed to Ola where I have spent more than 7K).
Irrespective of the inventory issue and Ola’s acquisition bid, TFS needs to rethink its app strategy to bring back the zing!
PS : The idea behind this piece is to share a point of view, especially from product management eyes (and not to critic a company). TFS has been a good execution story so far, but I believe they really need to rethink and reimagine the evolving landscape and consumer behavior.

Why “Make in India” Vs “Make for India” Is The Wrong Debate

[Guest article by Raghunandan G., CEO of TaxiForSure]
When the Narendra Modi led BJP rode to power in an unprecedented electoral victory, it was largely on the back of the twin promises of “development” and “minimum governance”. Following government formation, the “Make in India” became a catch phrase to capture the imagination of investors and global manufacturers.

MakeInIndia
MakeInIndia
This slogan was soon contested by none other than Raghuram Rajan, the man who saw the future, when he predicted an imminent melt down of the global financial system much before the Lehman Brothers collapse. He has questioned the wisdom of the “Make in India” approach and suggested that a “Make for India” could be a better alternative.
My view is that the “Make in India” versus the “Make for India” debate is irrelevant, or even incorrect.
Both “Make in India” and “Make for India” are outcomes– outcomes that generally bode well for India. When I was at school, my dad never told me if I should be a lawyer or a doctor. He ensured that he inculcated the right climate at home where I could easily figure out for myself what I loved to do, along with the freedom to pursue it. The climate was crucial. The outcome wasn’t. I chose to be neither a lawyer nor a doctor. Both “Make in India” and “Make for India” need an underlying climate that is crucial for success. Without the right climate, neither is going to succeed. With the right climate, it does not matter which succeeds. It may actually be a third alternative which is neither Made in India nor Made for India.
Creating the right climate

  • The number one climate change imperative is moving India up the “ease of doing business” list from number 134 to being in the top 100 within 6 months and being in the top 50 in 12 months.

This is not easy – therefore insufficient attention is paid to this. Take the telecom spectrum and coal block allocations. As a fallout of corruption charges and subsequent investigations, all allocations were cancelled. No one thought what it would do to businesses that had invested based on these allocations, and the impact it would have on countless people whose lives depended on these businesses. The government bravely resorted to the ordnance route to address the coal block allocation issue, but that is just not sufficient to put either industry or investors at ease. Cyrus Mistry was vocal in his support for the Make in India initiative, but when it came to the Tata Motors owned JLR setting up a plant, it chose Changshu in China over India. Therefore, the sooner the government injects confidence through changes in climate, the sooner will such decisions swing in India’s favor. When this happens, it does not matter whether a Tata Motors could potentially use the factory in India to produce cars for the world market or for the Indian market.

  • Two of the biggest obstacles in the rapid industrialization of India in the last couple of decades have been land acquisition and environmental clearances. It will be helpful to see some concrete indications that there is change of both mindset and will in pushing through the necessary changes.
  • In the last two decades, India’s growth has been despite a lack of public infrastructure like power and transport. Gaps in public policy were partially filled up by enterprising companies, and by an effective public-private-partnership – in the last 30 years India’s PPP market is the world’s biggest. Infrastructure has been the dominant area of PPP. Healthcare and education have also seen moderate success. In the last 5 years, the share of private universities has gone up from 10% to 42%. However, after the initial euphoria, there have been some setbacks to the PPP model – Overbidding, faulty pricing mechanisms and delayed clearances have led to investor losses. Financing and the absence of a liquid corporate bond market has also been a problem. But there is hope that these can be overcome. If power, water and other infrastructure is made available to industry it does not matter whether these inputs are used to make in India or make for India. Let the global marketplace and the entrepreneurs decide on a case by case basis.
  • The average Indian is 17 years younger than the average Japanese and 14 years younger than the average American This demographic advantage gave us an edge when the global services industry was growing. India managed to get the lion’s share of the services that the developed world decided to outsource. India’s youth bulge is both a promise and a peril. To accommodate the 300million people that will join India’s workforce between 2010 and 2040, each year India needs to create,roughly 10m jobs and a new city like Bangalore along with the commensurate real estate space and investment in infrastructure. This workforce couldn’t care less if they were employed making in India or making for India! They just need to be gainfully employed. Without the required labor reforms, industry would rather not take the risk of employing this workforce.

TO SUMMARIZE:
There is hope.
Most countries in the world, including China, are rapidly aging while India will continue to remain young and youthful for the next twenty years and more. An aging world cannot do without a young India. We need to quickly create a climate where this youth power is harnessed effectively. I feel very confident that if there is one government that could make this happen, it is this government, under the leadership of the current prime minister.
Recommended Read: Why Government Should Focus on “Sell In India

TaxiForSure Adds Panic Button In Cabs To Strengthen Security

Following the unfortunate Uber rape incident that happened in Delhi, the Indian Government had banned mobile based taxi services from operating in the country. As a solution to this, certain new regulations were drafted by the Transport department as a proposal to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for approval.taxiforsure_thumb.png
Now, cab aggregator TaxiForSure has come up with some reforms to address the same issue. TaxiForSure has now installed GPS devices and panic buttons in the cabs operated by their partner operators.


Read : A Look at T&C Of Online Cab Operators [Nobody Cares. Nobody Will Own Up].


The panic button will be located near the rear passenger seat in the cab. It is a bright button for customers to press in case of an emergency. As soon as a customer presses it, a signal to the company’s control room is sent to flag the emergency. The control room team will get into action and will contact the passenger as well as the driver to understand the situation. Based on the situation the call control room team will act promptly and take the appropriate action to manage the emergency.
Another additional feature ‘inform your friend’ has been added to the mobile app which is an enhanced version of the existing ‘Track a Taxi’ feature, which allows users to share cab details through WhatsApp, Facebook, SMS or Email with a single touch. Details that are shared include driver’s name, driver’s phone number, cab  number and a link to track the cab live.
At present, the panic button has been installed in 200 cars in Bangalore and 100 cars in Delhi and other cities will follow it soon.

TaxiForSure Brings Tata Nano Onboard

TaxiForSure has launched their new category of Nano taxis. The service has been launched with 100 Nanos in Bangalore and will be expanded to other Indian cities in the coming weeks.

Nano Meets TaxiForSure
Nano Meets TaxiForSure
The Nano service will be available exclusively on the TaxiForSure app and mobile site in the ‘Pick Now’ option. The service will be priced at Rs. 25 for the first 2 k.m. and Rs. 10 / km after that.
The service competes with Uber’s ‘UberGO’ feature which provides hatchback cabs at prices comparatively cheaper than hiring an auto rickshaw and Ola’s auto rickshaws inventory.
A sort of revival for Nano, which has struggled to create a demand?
Aside, here is why TaxiForSure is doing it, i.e. focus on shorter distances.

  • Always round the corner : You’ll find a Nano always with-in a radius of 3 kms.
  • Prompt : It takes around 15 minutes for a Nano to arrive once you press Pick Now on the App.
  • Pocket-Friendly : Rs. 25/2km and Rs. 10/km after that. No night charges and waiting charges.
  • Ideal for short distances : It’s small, arrives promptly, cuts through traffic, and costs incredibly less. Need we say more?