The market for “bike-taxis”, a new phenomenon in the capital, is awaiting the Delhi government’s notification to legalise the commercial use of bikes as taxis. At present, bikes are being used as taxis in the city, but only on a “sharing module”. Aggregators believe that legalising the industry would go a long way in solving the “last mile connectivity” problem in the capital.
Aravind Sanka, co-founder of Rapido, a bike-taxi aggregator firm, said, “The potential of the bike-taxi market is growing in India. In the long term, there is potential for over two million bike-taxis in the country. The demand is coming from many major cities, as it is economical, safe and convenient. It also complements the public transportation in cities.”
The bike-taxi aggregators in the capital are currently running on a “sharing” module. Rahul Gupta, CEO of OneRyder, which was launched in the capital in April this year, said: “We are not running our business model on salary basis. Anybody who is interested can come to our registration centre with the required documents and enroll with us if all the preliminary requirements for a driver are met. We check the vehicle and the papers and also provide an extra helmet for the pillion rider. The driver earns 75% of the ride revenue and the company gets the remaining 25% share. Since the Delhi government hasn’t yet notified the bike-taxi aggregators’ proposal, we can’t operate as a registered company under the law. We can only operate in the sharing module.”
Sanka said: “In Delhi and Bangalore, Rapido services are offered as bike sharing and pooling models due to which we do not take any share or cut from the riders. In Gurgaon, Rapido works under a complete bike-taxi model, as it is legal in the city to run a bike-taxi.”
At present, Haryana and Goa are the only states that have legalised bike-taxis, with Delhi still considering the proposal. Arunabh Madhur, founder and CEO of M-taxi, said, “Bike-taxis can efficiently complement the existing strong network of three-wheelers and e-rickshaws in the capital. For point-to-point connectivity, bike-taxis are perfect. We are currently focusing on Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and have been successful in establishing a customer base of 20,000-25,000.”
Talking about market challenges, Rahul Gupta of OneRyder said, “A major challenge is to get women on board. We are trying to enlist women drivers so that women passengers feel more confident in availing our services. But this has not proved to be an easy task since women are largely unwilling to become a bike-taxi driver.”
Madhur said: “Now that players like M-Taxi have cashed in on the demand, big players like Ola and Uber are throwing their money weight around. The market has a lot of potential in Delhi. All that is needed is a smart policy that allows smooth flow of business and serves the people right.”