We all may have some experience with car booking either by calling a travel agent or local car operator or booking online. In this post, I would like to share details of how chauffeur driven cars are priced so that you can take the best option for your needs.
Traditionally, chauffeur driven cars were quoted as roundtrip. For example, if you checked the price of an airport transfer from Cochin (Kochi) airport to your hotel in Kochi, then you would see one price. However, this is the price of a 2 way journey from Cochin (Kochi) airport to a hotel in Cochin and back to Cochin airport. The reason is the car operator has to pay for fuel for the empty leg. In this case, the empty leg is Cochin hotel to the airport. Car operators use kilometers used as a metric to calculate their pricing and profitability. One more important point is car operators always charge bumper to bumper or garage to garage i.e. if the car is parked 10kms away from the airport, they will add 10 + 10 = 20km to the total kms.
Similarly, if you are doing a 5 day multi city trip i.e. Cochin, Kumarakom, Kovalam and you are flying into Cochin and flying out from Trivandrum (airport close to Kovalam), you may ask for a quote for a car at disposal for 5 days starting from Cochin and ending in Kovalam. However, the car operator will add the kilometers from Kovalam back to Cochin without you understanding this. Also note that for multi city trips, each car operator will factor minimum 250 to 300km each day and add driver night allowance. So for 5 days trip, the quote will include 1250 km (if 250km * 5). Any extra km run by the operator will be charged on the basis of per km rate.
Keeping the above concept in mind, lets try to find out the price of a 6nights/ 7 days Rajasthan holiday covering 3 cities i.e. Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. There are 2 ways to price this:
Car at disposal throughout the trip. Starting from Jaipur and ending in Jaipur. Considering 250km, we are looking at a minimum of 7* 250 = 1750 km. Considering approx INR 10 per km, we are looking at a total price of INR 17500 plus driver night charges i.e. INR 250 * 7 = INR 1750. So the total price of the car will be INR 17500 + 1750 = INR 19250. Toll and parking on actuals.
We try to split the trip and book point to point for each city. In this case, we are looking at the following:
- Pickup from Jaipur airport and drop to Jaipur hotel (approx INR 1450)
- Car at disposal on Day 2 in Jaipur for 8 hours for local sightseeing (approx INR 1600)
- Pickup from Jaipur hotel and drop to Jodhpur hotel (approx INR 4000)
- Car at disposal on Day 4 in Jodhpur for 8 hours for local sightseeing (approx INR 1750)
- Pickup from Jodhpur hotel and drop to Jaisalmer hotel (approx INR 4700)
- Car at disposal on Day 6 in Jaisalmer for 8 hours for local sightseeing (approx 2300)
- Drop to Jaisalmer airport on Day 7 (approx INR 1000)
Total = 1450 + 1600 + 4000 + 1750 + 4700 + 2300 + 1000 = INR 16800 (Toll and parking on actuals)
It may appear that option 2 is better. But you may want to factor the fact that you will not have a vehicle with you on Day 1, Day 3, Day 5 at disposal. You could always consider using a local taxi as per your need. You could also consider taking a bus or train or flight for certain routes. In that case, option 2 will definitely be better.
Hope you found this article useful and will be able to take a well informed decision to suit your needs.