I’m writing this from the Terminal 2 Lounge of Mumbai International Airport. I was in the city for a day of meetings today, and I’m glad I stuck to my policy of booking outgoing flights only from Terminal 2. I just can’t imagine spending an hour and a half (the length of my flight delay) waiting in the bus stand that is Terminal 1.
It was one of those visits where I’d bunched together several different meetings with several agendas (or should it be agendae?), which meant that I took a lot of cabs. All my cab rides here were through Uber. Some pertinent observations.
- Whoever decided that the WagonR is a good car to be a taxi? It may be a great own-drive vehicle, but the back seat is significantly inferior to the kind of back seats you’re generally used to in cabs.
- Except for the first and last trips of the day, I was forced to take the aforementioned WagonRs. in Bangalore, I instinctively book Uber Premium, and am usually rewarded with sedans (Etios or Swift DZire) driven by drivers with high ratings. In fact, in Bangalore, Uber sedans are so liquid that you sometimes get them even when you book an UberGo.
Not the case in Mumbai. Liquidity of sedans is far far inferior to WagonRs. Once today, the sedan waiting time was 15 minutes (and only one was nearby) while hatchbacks were plentiful around, and one materialised in two minutes. The other occasions I checked and simply booked WagonRs.
- On the one occasion when I waited for a long time for a sedan to appear, and then cancelled and booked a WagonR, I was thankful I did so since the route involved some impossibly narrow roads (this was after Uber had failed to recognise a one way road)
- In general, all the drivers I encountered today (I did five trips in total) were rather professional. Arrived and drove quietly. Air-conditioners always switched on. No calls either to me or anyone else. Occasional polite conversation. This was very different from my experience with Ubers in Mumbai on my earlier visits this year, when I encountered paan-stained cars, nonstop chattering on mobile phones and a driver who gave me a virus.
- Both in Bangalore (on the way to the airport this morning) and in Mumbai (on the sea link), the taxi drivers hadn’t installed FASTAG. The former resulted in significant delays, and my reaching the gate just in time to board my flight.