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Saturday, June 07, 2014

Self drive car rental experience in Pune

Last time when I was in Pune, sometime in 2010, I didn’t really consider self-drive rental, since my stay was short (less than 24 hours) and a 8 hour/80km package from Wings at Rs 800 was fairly adequate to roam around the city.

This time around, things were different. I had more time, more distance to cover and more confident than earlier when it comes to driving around on my own.  So started looking out for possible self-drive options.
Major player in Pune self drive car rental business is selfdrive.in. They have wide variety of cars- small cars, premium SUVs, sedans, automatics all types. They have a fortuner at Rs 7500 a day, Ford Ecosport at Rs 3250 a day and Volkswagen Beetle at Rs 4000 a day. I was tempted to try the beetle, but unfortunately they have an odd timing policy. Mid night to midnight is counted as a day. If I need the car from 10AM today till 10 AM tomorrow, I need to pay rent for 2 days. This didn't make sense. I wouldn't be able to use the car optimally between 0000 hours and 2330 hours. So dropped them from my shortlist. May be I will consider them next time. Carzonrent and Zoom have a 24 hour billing- your 24 hour starts from the time you collect the car. (Except in Goa where 8AM to 8AM is considered 1 day)

Other players- Avis has no self drive in Pune. Ecocar, Autoriders etc didn't have an interactive website or support system to check availability/rate etc. (Autorider website isn't updated in ages- still shows dollar value at 45 Rs). Girikand seemed economical, but not having specific details of the car and availability turned me off.

Next option was the good and old carzonrent. (Myles). Their option in Pune were limited. A Swift and an Etios. Nothing else. Having driven enough swifts and dzires already I was keen to try something else. But Etios didn’t excite me as it costed Rs 400 more per day. Finally booked Swift for a day. Rental was marginally cheaper than selfdrive.in (Equivalent Ritz/i20 costs Rs 1950 per day at selfdrive.in, Swift VDi is Rs 1850 per day at carzonrent) 

Unlike Zoom, carzonrent never calls me before my reservation day to remind me about my booking or provide instructions as to where to come. Every time I only need to chase them to ask where is the garage etc. Also the automatic contact number given in booking wasn’t working, had to take another number speaking to carzonrent helpline.

Carzonrent garage in Pune is some 8 kms away from Pune airport (in Pingale Wasti area near Westin hotel). They charge Rs 500 to provide pickup/drop service at the airport. I felt it is little high, so decided to take my chance with airport taxi rental. We could reach their garage for Rs 270 using airport taxi.
After regular paperwork, I was handed keys of a brand new swift VDi which had just about 350kms on the odo. It had tinted windows and rear glass, which was good in heat but made rear view mirror visibility poorer. Car didn’t have a fire extinguisher as in Chennai, but had an ice box. Also unlike Chennai experience where I got a sparkling red swift, Swifts in Pune were all silver colour- not an exciting colour for me. The car had Mumbai registration and yellow reflector stripes, a common practice in north India. No other complaints on the vehicle and I drove off.


This particular swift which I drove also had a minor glitch- dashboard backlight loses strength if headlight is turned on. While passing through the tunnel or driving in night, if I turn on headlight, I can’t read the digital display. Nevertheless drive was fun on the curvy roads leading to Lavasa and I could touch 160kmph, swift’s top speed, on Mumbai Pune Expressway. Returned the car next day same time

This time I didn't try taking too many photos of the car. Just focused on driving. Will be good if Carzonrent gives some more options in Pune.

I have some more visits to Pune coming up. Let us see how it goes next time.

Update: Bangalore based Zoomcars has hinted that they might soon start a branch in Pune.

19 comments :

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Any Self drive rental cars available in Mangalore Airport or city?

Thank you.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

As far as I know, No. There're a few private individuals who give cars, but only to people they know or only if you go via reference

dalu1061 said...

Hi any good selfdrive car rentals in goa

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Carzonrent has good options, including Thar, BMW 5 series and many more cars.

Operated by a sub contractor it seems, 8 am to 8Am is treated as a day.

Anonymous said...

Zoomcars app have crashed after payment in my phone and it had been cancelled right now.. :@

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anon: Hope zoomcar team has addressed your concern..

I haven't used their apps that extensively.

nidhin raj said...

Ha bee

Jabgars said...

I am trying to book a rental car in a different city through carsonrent. I was just wondering how was your experience in returning the car. I had a talk with the customer support and they mentioned that even the best insurance plan doesn't cover everything. On top of that in case your car gets minor scratches or something you'll be charged hefty prices for those.
Thanks in advance

Jabgars said...

I am trying to book a car in a different city through carsonrent. I was just wondering how was experience returning the car. I had a short conversation with the customer support and she mentioned that even the best insurance plan doesn't cover everything. On top of that in case you have even minor scratched you'll be charged a hefty price for repair. Besides, they do place a charge of 30,000 on your credit card which is refunded only after a few days. Were you able to receive your amount back? You response is appreciated.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Jabgars: Yes, there is a small risk. Should something go wrong, you will end up loosing some money, usually few thousands to a max of 30k that is blocked in your card.

The amount blocked will be released, may take about 7-10 days usually depending on bank and so on.

If there're no incidents, return will be smooth.

I think this much risk we can take in life, but if you're very risk averse try Zoomcars in Pune, where your max liability will be 5k, even in worst of the scenarios. Alternatives, rent a taxi.

Anonymous said...

I rented from selfdrive.in two days while I was in Pune last month. I especially liked their delivery/pickup service, they deliver car to your location and come and pick. They have several cars listed on their website, however at the time of booking just one car was available I had to go with that car. I did visit their office just to know people who are running, they let me use their computer to book first day and were friendly. However, when I rented second time, I opted delivery option, but no one showed up with the car at the scheduled time. I had to call their office, the lady who was at work did not even know about my reservation. I had to go and pickup car as their driver was running late. I requested to pay back the charges for deliver, but I have not heard back until now from them.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Anon for sharing your experience

All

I have an updated post on this topic here
http://www.enidhi.net/2015/04/pune-self-drive-rental-scene-update.html

Omkar Bhandare said...

hi

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Omkar

Shiju said...

Hi Shrinidhi,

Any self driven cars in Trivandrum.

Please mail me on shijujohn.misc@gmail.com if you have any leads

Thanks
Shiju

Shrinidhi Hande said...

No. Not aware of an operator in Trivandrum

Shivani Garg said...

Need to rent a self drive car in pune for a month. But zoomcar and carzonrent are costing about 50K. Know any local rental guys?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

No. Try selfdrive.in as well.
Which car is costing you 50k?

Other option is to buy a second hand car and then sell it off after usage, but will involve more paperwork and no guarantee that net spend will be less than 50k