“As someone with a medium breed dog, unless I have a small breed dog, most cabbies never permitted me to travel in their cabs, around the city for either short or long distances. The typical black and yellow cabs’ experience has been a disaster for me because I’ve had to run around pleading cabbies to accommodate my dog and keep assuring them that he won’t spoil or rip apart the insides of the cab. So far down the line, I felt the need to switch to a more sophisticated service that I expected would have a more defined system in place for passengers travelling with their pets, you know since it’s a metropolitan city and all.
Then, I tried Ola that had air conditioning and was convenient to book through their mobile app. In the beginning, I found that most drivers were reluctant to accommodate a dog along with 1-2 passengers because, according to them, it was against their company’s policy. As far as Ola’s mobile app was concerned, there not even a single utterance of travelling with a dog in a clear and concise way.
Once I was travelling back home from Marine Drive with my medium breed dog, and since I booked an Ola, we had to wait outside the cab for 15-20 minutes as the driver wanted to confirm whether Ola permitted dogs or not. Let me tell you, sometimes your dog barks and especially after a long walk, the dog may not stay as calm and patient because he wants to get home and simply rest. After a lot of arguing and speaking to more than one customer service representative over the phone, the Ola cab driver, not so willingly, let us sit in. The entire journey to where I stay was ruined by the driver complaining and mansplaining that I shouldn’t travel with a dog unless I have my own car, I should have informed the driver and requested for a separate cab because I have a dog (which I did inform, adding with confidence that my dog will not urinate, poop or spoil the insides of the car), and also why I shouldn’t have a dog when I can’t travel in my own car. Even after I paid the generated fare at the end of the journey, the cab driver kept complaining about the smell that sticks to the car after the car is vacant and also that I shouldn’t do this again because it causes him lots of INCONVENIENCE.
After a few such experiences, one more when I booked 3 rides with Ola and all 3 got rejected because the cab drivers weren’t sure to let a dog in during the monsoon season. I had to wait outside Oval Maidan, Churchgate, while it was pouring, for about an hour to get a decent cab driver to agree to let me in with a dog. Since then, I was bound to establish a generalized judgment that this won’t work with any cab company and that companies like Ola do not have any policy regarding animals in place. A long while after that, I completely barred using such services with my medium breed dog. If it’s to travel to my office, for a walk or someplace else, I always, always took my car whenever it was available. Something like this really limits my options in a buzzing city like Mumbai, but it seemed like I had no choice.
Then, I gave Uber a try. Many times I have travelled by Uber and the experience has been phenomenal: the entire booking experience on the app is easy, quick and convenient, the cab drivers arrive on time and are super-friendly, and the costs are affordable. I have booked Uber more than a few times and it’s been a great experience for me. Never had I thought that Uber was so open-minded, calm and friendly towards dogs. The drivers don’t seem to have any problem with my medium breed dog, although I do have to inform them before that I have a dog who isn’t going to cause an issue during the journey at all, but I do that because it’s my responsibility to take responsibility for my dog if things go wrong. Uber has restored my faith in great serviceability in all aspects.
As a dog owner, comfort is the most important feeling for my dog while commuting, and Uber provides just that. Travelling with Uber is easy travelling to wherever I go.”
Written and Photographed By Ayesha Dhurue, For The Public Eye