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Why the Bike Taxi industry is Here to Stay The bike taxi service in India is expected to grow at a stellar pace and would soon become accessible in 200 Indian cities.

By Aravind Sanka

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The bike taxi service in India is expected to grow at a stellar pace and would soon become accessible in 200 Indian cities.

According to a driving habits' survey conducted by Ford Motor Company in 2015, Indian commuters spend more time behind the wheel as compared to their counterparts residing in China, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia. Three years on, the situation has become even worse as our metro cities grapple with harrowing traffic congestions. With the growing population, the infrastructure of urban Indian cities has failed to keep pace. Be it Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, getting stuck in a jam is a common thing for intracity travellers. Overpopulation, outdated infrastructure and unplanned growth of metropolises are the major reasons why the carrying capacity of Indian roads is declining rapidly.

In this bleak scenario, then, bike taxi companies are bringing some relief for daily commuters by offering cost-effective and convenient rides. While bike taxis have existed in India since the 80s, they did not take off until recently due to strict government regulations. Additionally, concerns were raised regarding the safety and security of such services, particularly when it came to women passengers. However, in the last couple of years, the tables have turned for bike taxi operators thanks to increasing demand among urban commuters for cabs that can maneuver their way through never-ending jams and poor road infrastructure. Some of the factors that have worked in favour of these aggregators are as follows:

Affordable and Quick Rides

By offering value-for-money rides, bike taxis have emerged as the preferred mode of transportation for the price-sensitive Indian middle class. Commuters who use bike taxis spend significantly less money in comparison to their counterparts who take cabs. In addition to being affordable, bike taxis reach the destination faster as they can slide through the traffic. This explains why intracity travellers in tier I cities are making a switch to bike taxis with much enthusiasm.

Employment Opportunities for India's Youth

The bike taxi industry is providing employment opportunities to thousands of Indians. And it is expected to create new jobs for many in the days to come. Whether it's carrying passengers or parcels, two-wheeler taxis have become the source of livelihood for many of India's skilled youth. Not only full-time employees, but college students are also taking up bike-taxi driving to earn some extra cash in their free time.

Reduced Traffic Congestion

Bike taxis can lessen the traffic congestion in urban Indian cities to a great extent once their adoption is accelerated. At a time when most cities in India are struggling with the number of four-wheelers on the roads, bike taxis can help in reducing the nightmarish jams commuters face every day. This is one of the main reasons why the concept of bike taxis has become so popular and is receiving support from all quarters.

Less Carbon Footprint

Two-wheelers emit less carbon dioxide than cabs and buses. With the whole world striving for a sustainable future, environmentally-cautious commuters are inclining toward vehicles that do not have adverse effects on our surroundings.

Addressing the First and Last Mile Connectivity Issue

In cities like Chennai and Bangalore, commuters' biggest challenge is to reach the metro stations on time. Factors like infrequency of bus services, unavailability of autos and steep cab fares have added to the problem. This is where bike taxis come in, offering a viable solution to urban India's first and last mile connectivity problems, and encouraging more people to opt for public transportation. Realizing the market opportunity, a few of the aggregators have already tied up with various metro stations across the country.

As we begin the new year, the bike taxi service in India is showing a huge potential and is expected to grow at a stellar pace. In fact, some estimates suggest that bike taxis could soon become accessible in 200 Indian cities over the next few years. Despite the legal complications, the increasing demand for bike taxis on the back of the convenience, cost saving and mitigated environmental impact that they offer — all indicate that the future of the industry is certainly very bright in India.

Aravind Sanka

Co-founder, Rapido

Aravind Sanka is the Co-founder of Rapido, India's first and largest bike taxi app focused on making commuters' daily intracity travel affordable, faster and safer. At Rapido, Aravind plays a key role in realizing the mission and vision of the company, besides spearheading the product development, strategy and finance division of the firm.

An IIT-Bhubaneswar alumnus, Aravind started working for the e-commerce giant Flipkart’s logistics division Ekart in XX (year). For 3.5 years, the professional was deeply involved in the financial planning and expansion of logistics of Ekart. Aravind has played a vital role in accelerating the growth trajectory of Ekart from 10 to 100 cities. He has also been a part of various initiatives and was involved in initiating the last mile logistics service for the firm.

With Rapido, Aravind envisages saving people’s time and money and impacting millions of lives in the country. He also envisions Rapido as the most sought-after ride-sharing app and every commuter’s daily travel choice.


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