Booking a cab is no longer the luxury it once used to be. Thanks to low fares and professional service, most people happily choose app-based cabs like Uber and Ola over public, sometimes even private transport, for their daily commute. Sharing your cab makes it even cheaper, with the fares sometimes halved. In Delhi and Mumbai, a shared cab ride costs less than an auto-rickshaw even!
Sure, life’s great when cabs are just a click away. No waiting at the bus stop or the station, no running late, no more arguing over the fare, and carpooling in general is great for the planet.
The pros are many. But one thing that doesn’t change is the fact that a shared cab is not very different from public transport in terms of your fellow passengers.
Say goodbye to privacy—you’re sharing your ride with complete strangers who may or may not be very accommodating, and from what we hear, it’s mostly the latter.
Before you opt for a shared ride, prepare yourself to meet these characters.
Most people like to have their morning tea with a newspaper. But for some, their morning doesn’t kick off until they dissect and discuss all the news they’ve read. And what serves the purpose better than a comfortable cab ride with a fellow passenger as the audience?
Even as you’re trying to catch some peace before diving into a day of work, the chatterbox will update you with all of the happenings around the world and also ask for your opinion to keep the conversation going.
Divya Giri, 23, analyst at HCL, often takes an Ola to work. She shares an amusing incident, “I tend to read and listen to music while commuting. One day, a middle-aged lady sitting next to me, quite animatedly, started elaborating on how doing two things at a time will degrade my concentration skills. I politely removed my headphones and got back to reading. What surprised me was that she continued enlightening me about the sad state of the society. I was wondering how exactly listening to her (and not music) was better.”
These guys see no difference between a shared cab and a private one. Completely oblivious to their surrounding, they’re noisy, self-interested and annoying. If they’re the first to board the cab, we bet they won’t move an inch to make room for the next passenger.
Silvy Kalra, 24, associate producer at Quint, recalls, “Once I had to travel with an aunty in a shared Ola. She didn’t care that someone else was sitting in the cab. She kept talking on the phone so loudly, I thought I’ll go deaf!”
Some people don’t talk much, but that doesn’t mean they like to mind their own business. They sit quietly beside you, taking note of your each and every move, with their eyes fixed on your phone.
Ankit Singh, 25, shares how uncomfortable an old lady sitting next to him made him, when he was returning from a Halloween Party at work. “For a little while it was amusing and I didn’t expect her to be absolutely comfortable seeing me with smudged eyes and unruly hair. But then she simply wouldn’t stop staring at me, running her eyes up and down my clothes, accessories, phone, what not! Ultimately I had to request the driver to let me move to the front seat.”
The Cab-side Romeo
Just because you’re travelling within the comfort and privacy of a cab with a person of the opposite sex, doesn’t mean you get the license to check out, drop hints, flirt or start looking for them social media! It’s nothing close to romance and is downright offensive.
According to Deepika Jayara, 23, student at the University of Delhi, “Most people book a cab with the intention of travelling in peace and safety. But I don’t know how often that happens. The other day, I read about someone being stalked by means of their personal details provided on the cab sharing app. When I travel in cabs, I expect my parents to be assured of my safety. But with incidents like these, I don’t feel safe at all.”
The Impatient Soul
If you’re opting for a shared cab, it’s understood you’ll have to wait either to pick someone up, or to drop them off before you reach your destination. But there’s always that one person who is oblivious of this fact, completely restless and impatient, crib about how he or she is so damn late.
Deepak Lala, 35, a cab driver in Delhi shares how disturbing it is to see people getting impatient, rude and even aggressive if the next passenger is running a little late. “Sometimes they don’t want to wait at all! A wait time of 3-5 minutes is allotted to each passenger. If he or she doesn’t show up by then, we cancel the booking. But just because someone managed to board the cab first, waiting for others is an ordeal to them. They constantly ask us to call the person or move the cab.”
The next time you book a shared cab, look out for these characters and consciously decide to stay zen. Remember, you’re going to have to accept them in their sickness and health till your destination do you part.