Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pune self drive rental scene update

I had written about self-drive car rental scenario in Pune last year. But by then, Zoomcar hadn’t opened a branch in Pune yet. This year situation is a bit different. Bangalore based Zoomcar is operational in full swing in Pune with lots of locations and cars. Another player in Pune is I had my eyes on their  VW Beetle since long time, but their unfriendly rules and process turned me of. Last month I rented a Figo from Carzonrent in Pune after much deliberation trying to decide between Zoom and Carzonrent. When I sat down in early April to write this post, I realized that couple of things have changed- website has been revamped and Carzonrent has started charging extra for weekends. 
So this post is a mixed update of what I observed last month and the changes I noticed this month.

First, the VW Beetle. Last year, had their Beetle available for Rs 4000 a day. This year, it is hiked to Rs 4500. But this amount didn’t include insurance and tax. With insurance and tax, the asking amount was around 5.5k INR. Add to that, had an extremely unfriendly way of counting a day. From 12 mid night to 11.30PM was one day, while all other agencies count 1 day as 24 hours from any hour chosen (Zoom even allows minutes). had only one location in Pune, despite being in operation for years, while competition has several locations. folks would charge about Rs 500 for pickup/drop facility (taxi from airport to their address also could cost as much). All this meant if I wanted to drive beetle, I had to shell out about INR 6500 per day, 50% more than what’s advertised in home page. For that amount I can rent a GLA/A/C class that costs twice as much as a Beetle, so I shelved my plans to drive the Beetle for now.
But it looks like people behind are waking up to the competition from Zoom and Myles. This month, I noticed that has introduced following changes:

1 Pickup/delivery charges reduced to Rs 150 (Pune only
2 Tax and insurance included in rental amount
3 Hourly rental introduced-first 6 hours will be billed at one rate and remaining hours in another way. So the mid night to midnight billing cycle is gone for good. (I spoke to the number mentioned in website- the person who received my call was still speaking old terms, though website had been updated. Might take some time before they sort out things and sync up.)
4 Beetle is not getting listed in Pune- seems to be moved to Mumbai and hourly rates are not applicable in Mumbai- only weekend (3 day) rates are charged- some weird way of rental calculation and rules which is difficult to grasp

With out of the picture, I had to cho0se between Zoomcar and Carzonrent. My arrival in Pune was on Friday late night and return was on Monday early morning.

That is 2 days and a few hours. Below is the comparison I did, since Figo was sold out with Zoomcar, I had to book with Carzonrent, even after their expensive Rs 750 airport charge. 
No extra charge for airport location
Rs 750 charged extra for airport
Figo and Ecosport was listed at Airport, but Figo (close 5k for 2 days and few hours, some 500 kms fuel included) was sold out.

Only available option was Ecosport, costing Rs 7100, which I felt is beyond my budget
Figo was available for about Rs 1800 per day + 750 extra for airport, costing  Rs 4400 approx, fuel extra. I couldn’t book 2 days and 2 hours (I had to pay for 3rd day if I try that), so I chose to book for 2 days only and wait about an hour at the airport instead.
Can’t make the max of Mumbai Pune expressway due to 125kmph speed limit
No speed limit
I wasn’t very sure of exact kms I would cover- Airport to home, them to Talegaon, then probably Lonavala and Khamshet and then to Mahabaleshwar and back. I figured this might come just close to Zoom car’s limit of 240 kms a day

End of the trip, I had logged about 620 kms in 48 hours, for which I would have paid an extra of Rs 1500 for figo, 1800 for Ecosport
Could drive as little or as much as I want, just had to fill up myself.

Spent 2500 on fuel, total expense: Rent + Fuel is close to 7k
If Figo was available, Zoomcar would still be cheaper than Carzonrent overall for my usage.
Had this airport fee of Rs 750 was not there, Carzonrent would have been cheaper for Figo.

Now Carzonrent has started charging 15% extra for weekends, which meant its advantage over Zoomcar is being lost
Modifying  a booking, if needed, is easy
Impossible- have to cancel and rebook
For detailed comparison between Myles and Zoomcar, read this post.
But during my 2 day drive around Pune, I found several Zoomcars everywhere and hardly any carzonrent vehicles. (One reason for this could be that all Zoomcars are having bright orange/red colours and is very easy to spot. Carzonrent Myles cars are usually white/silver. (If you want a flashy entrance or people to take notice of your arrival, then rent a zoomcar. If you’re on a spy mission and want to get in and get out without being noticed, use a Myles). I spotted few Ecosports, XUV500, GLA Class andFigos from Zoomcar fleet. Some having KA registration, some having MH registration. Most of the drivers were youngsters. Zoom doesn’t need a credit card and risk liability is low (max 5000), hence is very popular amount students and young professionals. 
Cars from both operators are pretty new and in excellent condition.

Meanwhile, a new company, seem to be coming up in selfdrive car rental space. It is not very clear about their locations, fleet and tariff. We’ll know next month when they launch.


The wild said...

I think the legal limit on Mumbai pune expressway is 80kmph,so i dont understand how speed limit 125 kmph is going to affect your ride.It might feel great but its not safe -at prolonged high speeds there is possibility of tyre bursts and there are debris and other traffic who might change lane suddenly ,its a reality

There have been many accidents on the expressway only due to high speeds.Besides its not streamlined traffic on the expressway and road is not completely straight

When you start breaking rules big time ,things might get really tricky

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Very valid points...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Responsible and cautious driving is more important than slow driving. Knowing your car and its limit, knowing the road, keeping an eye on the traffic around and knowing when it is safe to speed up and when to slow down are key to safe driving. These aren't thought properly anywhere and should come by experience.

Why are we manufacturing and selling cars that can go 200kmph if country wide max limit is 80 kmph? Why this double standard?

Rishikesh Jaiswal said...

I really liked the blog you have written... it really helps as a customer to differentiate between the Self-Drive options especially Pune.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks RJ

siddharth said...

I read both the blogs, last year's and this year's. Thanks for taking the time out to write them!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Siddharth