For busy Mumbaikars

Want a sandwich, The Kite Runneror a window seat for your Volvo ride to Goa? Now you get it all online. Malay Desai goes site-seeing to test whether you should sign up or simply press Alt+F4

   
Order food    

www.mealtree.com
Taking a cue from their daily food-ordering habits, citybased professionals Ashish Agarwal and his brothers conceptualised Mealtree. Albeit not a novel idea (many western cities, for example Durban, have centralised helplines and ‘menu directories’), Mealtree attempts to bring in all major restaurants and fast-food chains under one roof. UPSIDE: We placed an online order (rolls from Wraps and Rolls), and promptly got a call for confirmation. The delivery took the usual time it would have had we ordered directly. What impressed us was the user-friendly menus, where you can easily order from multiple places. There was also the option of mentioning exactly how spicy we wanted our chicken roll.

DOWNSIDE: We didn’t find McDonalds on the site and all items under Garcia’s were dysfunctional.
   
Look up a book    

www.librarywala.com
Our ‘time-less’ city life coupled with the love for books prompted IT professional Hiten Turakhia and his buddies to kickstart India’s first online circulating library last year. It is ideal for professionals with five-day weeks who tremble at the prospect of visiting a library or buying expensive books. UPSIDE: We shelled out Rs 2,398 (out of which Rs 500 was refunded because of a new special offer) to opt for a plan which gives three books per month, for a year. After ‘queuing up’ for The Kite Runner online late one night, we received it the next afternoon.

DOWNSIDE: Its collection is all-English. It won’t have Stephen King’s On Writing — which your nearby raddiwala may have. Nor will it have recently-published books (like Binoo John’s Entry from Backside Only) which your bookshops will have. Also, some popular books like Maximum City, which are always in circulation, may take longer to arrive.
   
Book movie, play or    concert tickets    

www.bookmyshow.com
Unlike some ventures of the Network18 stable, this one doesn’t seem like a strategic investment. In fact it is promoted by Bigtree Entertainment, an info-solutions provider. Good for us, we thought, since almost all the multiplex websites require boring registrations and bug you with emails forever.

UPSIDE: The portal also offers play and concert tickets. It is really simple now to make it to a play at Prithvi or Anoushka Shankar live. And we don’t even mind the extra charge. DOWNSIDE: We decided to test-drive Jodhaa Akbar and found that there were hardly any Fame cinemas on the list. Also, the site only accepted payments through credit card and not direct net-banking. However, it hurt most when they levied a Rs 15 ‘con’venience charge on each ticket. Why on earth should we pay that if the multiplex helplines were ready to book tickets via a phone call?
   
Book bus tickets    

www.redbus.in
This one, too, has an interesting history: it was born out of the frustration of a bunch of Bangalore-based IT professionals who always suffered before travelling due to overbooking and unpredictable schedules. Today, they’ve quit their well-paying jobs and their portal boasts of a tie-up with over 250 operators across India’s smallest towns.

UPSIDE: We pretended we wanted to head to Goa overnight, logged on and printed an e-ticket in no time. We also tried the delivery, which lived up to promise and was cheaper than it’s competitor. As for cancellations, they can be done online, 24 hours before departure. What’s most impressive? You can select the boarding point nearest to you after looking up the route online.
DOWNSIDE: If only they would let us select the movie to be shown en route! We won’t have to watch films like Partner.

No good!

www.ticketvala.com
We checked out another site – which lets you rents cars and book hotel rooms too, but found it’s not half as good.Ticketvala’s site promises more and delivers less (we’re still waiting for a call for a request we made last week). It charges more for delivery and cancels tickets only 36 hours before departure.

   
Grab a DVD    

www.clixflix.com
Mumbai’s cinema lovers have never had it better. Today, we have many international fests, a classic movie club and a just-launched world cinema channel. This portal is among many side-effects of a booming entertainment industry in India. It says its powered by ‘hardcore couch potatoes’, but we found it does little to encourage the movieviewing habit.

UPSIDE: Still looking…
DOWNSIDE: On registration, we found out that its online store stocks only DVDs. We regret this sorely, since Moser Baer sells VCDs at a throwaway 28 bucks! Secondly, they didn’t deliver on a Sunday and shockingly showed up zero results when we searched for common retro movies like Anand and Guide. All this, after a security deposit of Rs 2,000! Not worth your while, we say.

Better options

www.seventymm.com
It’s one of the better-known DVD rentals and deservedly so. It offers a million things for the film buff. It has an impressive regional-language stock and lets customers keep their DVDs as long as they want.Another DVD rental site, www.cinesprite.com, is as good and cheaper.

Meru

V-Link Taxi Service operates its fleet of modern, air-conditioned, GPS-enabled taxis under the MERU brand.

The origin of the MERU name has its roots in ancient Indian history. Jain and Hindu traditions consider Mount MERU to be the centre of the entire universe, the abode of Lord Brahma as well as several other gods and goddesses. Throughout the country there have been many Hindu temples, including the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia, that have been built as symbolic representations of the MERU mountain. According to ancient Hindu texts, the MERU mountain was the epicenter of the earth.

When the Sagar Manthan (the churning of the oceans) took place the Meru was able to withstand all the turbulence.

Thus, MERU, the brand for V-Link Taxi Services, has today become a symbol of the company’s promise of unshakeable reliability – the core of V-Link’s promise to its customers.

It is this promise that drives the organization to provide customers with the best and most efficient services possible and pushes V-Link to set the highest standards in terms of both technical as well as human service. All this is done keeping in mind the safety of the vehicle and the guests as well as the efficiency and courtesy of the driver.
If you wish to go out at any time during the day, you shouldn’t let the lack of appropriate transport facilities dampen your spirits. This holds true especially in a country like India. To serve this exact same purpose MERU has made sure that its taxi services are always at the public’s disposal.

You can book a MERU at your own convenience using any of the following options. Just remember that, at present, MERU service is available at an advance notice of four hours before the time you require a pick up.

Call us - Meru CabCall Us Our dedicated Customer Care Center is operational for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just call us on 4422 4422, and our Customer Care Executives will be more than happy to find you a MERU cab at your desired time and place of pick-up.

Book Online - Mumbai TaxiBook Online You also have the option of booking a MERU cab on our website. Just provide us with the details of the date, time and place of pick-up, and we will send you a confirmation of your order via SMS or e-mail. To book a MERU now, please click here. Remember, you need to place your booking order four hours in advance.

Email us - Meru CabE-mail Us
You can also send us an e-mail at booking@merucabs.com. Just provide us with your contact number, and our Customer Care Executive will call you back to confirm your requirements.

Head Office:

V-Link Taxis Private Limited
128, IJMIMA – Raheja Metroplex,
Off Link Road, Malad (West)
Mumbai – 400 064
Phone: 91 22 4052 0100
Fax: 91 22 4052 0199
Email: contactus@vlinkindia.com
          feedback@merucabs.com

Registered Office:

V-Link Taxis Private Limited
V-Link Group

283/2243, Motilal Nagar – 1
Billabong High School Lane,
Off. Link Road, Goregaon (West)
Mumbai – 400 062
Phone: 91 22 2874 0405
Fax: 91 22 2874 0505

Taxi Services

Cool Cab Associates       Andheri East     2837 0238 

City Cool Cab Services       Tardeo             2351 4848 

Mumbai Pune Taxi Tourist Services       Dadar East       2411 4040 

Auto Rickshaw Union / Autorickshaw Union       Goregaon West            2876 6967 

Cool Cab       Colaba             2218 9620 

Cool Cab Service       Andheri East     2822 7006 

Group Mobile Cool Cab Service          2490 5151 

Khans Cool Cab 24 Hours       Bandra West    24945665 

Lost And Found In Taxis / Lost & Found In Taxi       Wadala            2307 8414 

Mumbai Nasik Taxi Service       Dadar East       2415 4076 

Mumbai Taxi Association       Jacob Circle     2494 1003 

Mumbai-nasik-shirdi Taxi Serv-       Dadar East       2415 4076 

Mumbai-pune-mumbai-taxi Ser       Dadar East       2411 4040 

Taxi Union (lost & Found)                   2307 8409   

Mumbai gets 24-carat gold cabs

In a tiny nondescript office a golden dream has been hatched- to create cabs with a global positioning system.

 

And this might change the way many Mumbaikars travel in the cramped city of 15 million people, as they will have an option to travel in style and luxury.

 

The NGO, Fullora Foundation has started the Mumbai Gold Taxi Company and it will be spending over 300 crore rupees.

 

It also plans to put 600 cabs on the road by the year-end. And that’s a small fraction of the over 30,000 black and yellow cabs that dot the streets.

 

However, the company hopes that soon many regular cab owners will surrender their old vehicles to them in exchange of money and better insurance plans.

 

“The existing taxi drivers who walk in with their black and yellow old cabs will get new taxis like Indigo Marina, Maruti Esteem, Lancer or even Innova in return,” says Arun Sabnis of Mumbai Gold Taxi Company.

 

However, at the moment the scheme is getting mixed reactions.

 

“Those taxis are expensive, people don’t board them,” says a taxi driver.

 

“I don’t know whether the taxis will work but the meters will definitely not work,” says a resident.

 

“There are chances that the taxis will run because the pockets of the Mumbai residents will allow them to. The AC taxis will be successful,” says another resident.

 

However, the cabs will have a flag down fare of Rs 15 compared to Rs 13 for normal taxis.