So I moved to Bangalore again last month. My new home is about 9km from my office. It’s not so bad because I don’t have to go to office everyday. Still, travelling in Bangalore has always been a bit pain for me, me being from Kolkata where everything is cheaper, specially transportation. You can travel 10km for Rs20 in the same auto that would cost you Rs130 in Bangalore, just because the concept of shared travelling is a big thing in Kolkata(which I wish were true in Bangalore). You have taxis in Kolkata which costs a bit less than Autos in Bangalore. Taxis in Kolkata costs about Rs12/km whereas autos in Bangalors costs about Rs13/km. And even buses are cheaper in Kolkata. Usually it’s Rs6 for first 4 km, and then increases by Rs2 for each 2-4 km. You can literally travel 12-14km for Rs10 in some routes. AC buses costs a bit more, but rarely more than Rs50 unless you’re travelling the whole route.
Anyway, back to travelling in Bangalore. I try to ride the buses wherever it’s possible. But the bus routes are odd. There isn’t always buses that take the shortest route between 2 places and most of the times you have to change bus 2-3 times to get to where you want. And add to that, the bus stops are at least 500-600 meter away from where you’d want to go, i.e. places of interest like malls etc. It’s good for a healthy traffic, I get it. But people are lazy and have money to spare. Lot of them would just book a cab than walk for 600m and then get a bus, which, I think, then adds up to the usual heavy traffic nowadays.
For some such reasons, I end up taking an auto or a cab if I’m really tired or have heavy luggage with me or dont have much time to spare. And that hurts the wallet. Auto is kind of the cheapest mode of transport (excluding the bus) and it costs Rs13/km. And most of the places I want to go is about 6-10km away.
I’ve read Ola cabs publicize by saying that they are cheaper than Autos nowadays. Even some friends mentioned that to me. Mostly because the Ola Mini costs Rs10/km after 4km. But Ola cabs also costs you Rs80 for that 4km. So I thought of drawing a graph of Auto fare and the ola cabs to see how cheap they are compared to the Autos. This is what I got -
Auto fare: Rs25 for first 1.9km, Rs13/km after that. Ola Bangalore fares are on their website.
So, turns out Ola Mini is cheaper only if you travel more than 13km. I’m sorry I didn’t notice but by the time I wrote this post, Olacabs has increased their fare and introduced time based charges like Uber. So I put in those numbers and above is the graph you see. I could not find a minimum distance that you’d want to travel in an auto for which Ola Mini is cheaper now. And also, please remember, this is excluding the Rs50 surge pricing you see most of the times nowadays. If I include that Rs50, then you’d have to travel 30km before Ola mini becomes cheaper than Auto. So this whole ola-is-cheaper-than-auto thing has no leg given that you’d usually want to travel 6-10km.
Then I thought of comparing the other cab services available with the auto fare, just because.
Here is Meru Cabs -
(This one needs updating. TFS got eaten by Olacabs.)
And TaxiForSure -
I think TaxiForSure Nano is the only option that’s always cheaper than Autos. And I think that’s also the reason why I never found one to book.
The other major player is Uber. Now it’s not really possible to calculate Uber cost as they take both Time and Distance into consideration. But I still made some effort. According to the Bangalore Mobility Indicator published in 2011, the average vehicle speed in Bangalore was 15-25km per hour. That’s 15km if you’re really unlucky and 25km if you’re really lucky. So I took the average of that and assumed al the Uber vehicles travel 20km per hour. It might be 25 if you’re lucky, 15 if you’re not. So at 20km/hour, that’s 1km per 3 minutes.
Update: As of August 25, 2015, Uber has updated their pricing and almost doubled the per km price after first 15km.
I put those numbers in and I got this -
Update: I didn’t add UberGO at first becaue it’s missing on their website itself. And as I don’t use Uber, my only source of data was their website. Anyway, I added the UberGO data. And it seems they are cheaper than auto above 6km. Which is good, but not sure about their availability.
So UberX is cheaper than Auto if you’re travelling more than 16km. And the name says “Fixed” as the numbers for first 3-4km are not the actual numbers as Uber has a minimum fare.
That was fun. Now let’s put all of them together -
Ola Prime tops all of them and TaxiForSure Nano is at the bottom.
Update: I know that autos ask for extra a lot of the times. And there is a bit of haggling involved to get by meter. But look at the charts above, and tell me, would you blame them for asking for a little extra when they are providing the same service as those charging almost twice or thrice? And if you think you’re saving the trouble of haggling by opting for a cab, is the extra money you’re paying, worth the trouble you just saved? In my experience, if you let go couple of autos, you’ll get one that will go by meter. I can live with that if that saves my hard earned money.
Here is the ODS file with all the numbers and formulas.
Here is the google spreadsheet of the same data, used to generate these charts.
It’s very much possible that there might be some mistakes, me being a human and all. Please leave a comment or tweet to me to fix it. Thanks.