Cabbies take Volvos for a ride

Alls fare...

Cabs wait for passengers to airport at the Ganganagar bus stop. DH PHOTO

Here’s how. Head straight to Mekhri Circle and look for cabs near the Air Force Station Training headquarters on Bellary Road. They will take you faster to the airport than the BMTC Vayu Vajra buses, and at a price even lower than that of a Volvo bus!

While a Vayu Vajra ride to Bengaluru International Airport will cost Rs 125, some cabs will charge a paltry Rs 100, or even less.

The economics is simple. Cabs, particularly those assigned by hotels to collect passengers from the airport, have to make an empty trip to the airport. Cashing on the situation, several cabbies make quick bucks by luring passengers waiting for a bus with a cheaper fare.

Rohith R, an entrepreneur, recalls the first time he came across such a service. “I reached the bus stop around 10 am and found a fleet of cabs there. Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to them, but soon, a cab driver walked up and asked me if I was going to the airport. When I told him I can’t afford a cab, he said I would have to just pay the same fare as that of a bus. I immediately hopped on.”

Several airport passengers have taken advantage of this cheap travel mode. Sudharshan K, who travels to Kolkata almost every week from Bangalore, says he takes an autorickshaw from his house in Basavangudi to Mekhri Circle, and then catches one of these cabs. “Instead of shelling out nearly Rs 700 on cab service, I can reach the airport for around Rs 200. Taking a Vayu Vajra would be even cheaper, but I would have to spend a lot of time on the bus. Moreover, getting a seat is also a problem,” he says.

This has resulted in the BMTC losing out on revenue. A transport official said dedicated Vayu Vajra services to the airport had only recently started looking up. “While there’s no danger of this reversing immediately, if the scale of such taxi service increases, we might have to take a serious look at it,” he said.

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