Consumer • Digital • Growth

An experience of hiring a long distance taxi from

Once we started planning our brief holiday to Kutch – Gujarat, I started looking for a car hire service online to book a self-drive car for 5-6 day. My requirement was to jump into a car at Ahmadabad airport and drop it back on my return. This is the way it works everywhere in the world, isn’t it!

Popular platforms like are still not operational in Ahmadabad and I could only find and they had NO car available for my dates. Either they are deliberately operating below their market demands or they don’t have bandwidth to do more than this. Found few more small time operators offering this service but with very little confidence and that was not good enough for to experiment with them. Change in plan and now I started looking for a standard car hire agency to get a car with the driver.

First choice given by Google search was and found they were offering a wide range of cars and was very tempted to go with them. Decided to look for a reference if someone had already used them and I was warned of not going anywhere near them by couple of people who had used them recently. This feedback was not very encouraging to explore any other small operators without any reference. Further search led to a new promising car hire market place, through a google ad, they offered a very large range of operators with a variety of cars. A chat pop-up was quite promising to help, like many other service portals, and I was given promises of good quality cars, experienced drivers and back up cars in case of any breakdown. Once I decided to go with them what I liked the most was they were very firm on their pricing. I decided to go ahead with them and book a car for my journey as per the terms given by them and paid the advance. I was sent an email confirming the booking and the details of the car and the driver.

Boarding the Car:

Now we arrive at Ahmadabad airport and the promised car arrives with two guys in the front seat. The designated driver (Sandeep) turned out to be the owner of the company and he asked for advance to our surprise since we had already paid the advance. He gets out of the car to make a call and in the meantime I asked the driver do you know the roads! He said he is new to Gujarat and he is not aware of highways at all. This was not a good start at all of the trip we have been looking forward to. I started calling the helpdesk of Yatayat and no one picked up the phone and now I get worried. In the meantime this driver – owner comes back with someone on the phone from Yatayat promising me all good things. When I mentioned to him that the assigned driver is different than what I was informed and he doesn’t know the roads he hung up saying he will call back. Now one Mr. Devesh Bhai (so called boss man of Yatayat) called me directly and promised me very happy journey pleading not to worry about anything. I said no I want either another car or a driver who knows the roads. He agreed to send me another car in 10-15 minutes. Suddenly, Sandeep turns up and say he will give us another driver who is familiar with the roads. He drove the car to a suburb to fetch the new driver and handed over the car to him and promised us all good things and we don’t need to worry about anything except the payment of toll charges wherever needed. We set on to this journey with this young man (Sevam) with lot of energy.

The Journey:

Our first destination was Modhera and driver had NO clues about the road leading to Modhera, just 45 KM away from Ahmadabad. It was clear this guy has never driven outside the city of Ahmadabad.

He loved talking on phone while driving and after sometime we had to firmly advise him to avoid that as well as ensure that he wears his seat belt as well.

He was invited to join us during all our meal breaks and he was quite comfortable with that. Once we reached Gandhidham he was on his own and wasn’t sure how to fund his meals. Obviously, he was informed by his operator that his allowances have already been paid and he must make his arrangements, if required.

We were told driver is carrying cash for refuelling but NO he had no cash with him. On the first refuelling point were asked to pay, contrary to the original arrangement.

On the third day we get a call from the operator (Sandeep) advising us not to use the air conditioner in this weather since it leads to higher fuel consumption. Very surprising isn’t it?

On the fourth day we headed towards Rann and driver Sevam was quite psyched with some rumours about the rush and crowd on the way to Rann. We had a minor bang on the highway to the Rann, the result of single lane close shave driving. As we reached near Black Hill he refused to drive the car since he wasn’t confident of manoeuvring the road and crowd.

On the last day as we were reaching near Ahmadabad the operator (Sandeep) started getting anxious moments on whether he will get paid the balance amount or not. The driver started getting tracking calls almost 100 KM before Ahmadabad.

As were reaching the airport, couple of KMs before, we were intercepted by the boss man (Sandeep) and he replaced the driver Sevam. He asked for the balance money to be paid first before he takes us to the airport. We insisted that we first get dropped and then we pay the balance and we did that. It certainly made us feel as if we have a bad track record in paying to our vendors.


An unprofessional taxi operator can spoil your holiday very easily and one must hire a car only through references. We would have had better experience with a self-drive car since we had to find roads anyway and having a driver was no help at all.

Looks like doesn’t have their backend systems in place as yet. Despite of all promises they had no clue about the operator, quality of car and driver skills. As an aggregator they must do their due diligence on these matters before assigning an operator and car to the passenger. They have to own the overall experience of their customer and shouldn’t try to patronise the customer. There was no reason to embarrass us (customer) by putting us in a situation of advance payment as soon as we boarded the taxi. There was no ownership of the experience by Devesh Bhai when confronted on various problems. If Yatayat continue to operate like this they will not go very far in this business and shall remain just an online agent for car hire.

It is very easy to start a web portal aggregating service providers but delivering true world class experience to your customers, especially in tourism, can be a very challenging. An aggregator must focus on customer needs and promises made to them and assign the appropriate operator after required due diligence. I will never recommend anyone with Yatayat to hire a car in Gujarat, however I wish some more professional agencies offering self-drive arrangements come up in Ahmadabad or the existing one enhance their capacity to cater to the need of Gujarat Tourism – solicited by Big B.


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