Necessity is not necessarily only the mother of invention, but also the mother of innovation and entrepreneurship. Youtuktuk, a door-to-door step autorickshaw service in Noida and Indirapuram, promises to bring relief and convenience to commuters. Launched just three weeks ago by 30-year old Baati Mittal, the service costs Rs 20 for the first two km, with an additional charge of Rs 8 per km and a convenience charge of Rs 10.
Speaking to Guardian20, Mittal informed us that they currently have 7-8 rickshaws in place, and are looking to expand their fleet to Delhi-NCR by February. "All the rickshaws are owned by their drivers and they register with us free of cost. We check their documents, do a police verification, and issue them an ID card", she says. While the service charge and minimum fare of Rs 20 accrue to the company, a percentage of the Rs 8 per km fare goes to the drivers. "Rs 5-7 of the Rs 8 per km charge accrue to the driver, and it varies according to the feedback that they get from the passenger. This also serves as an incentive to the drivers to provide good service to the passengers", Mittal explains.
How did the idea for this service originate? "I work for my parent's company, Ongraph Technologies, where we have an initiative for testing out new ideas called Ongraph Labs. Youtuktuk was born there, and we felt that there would be a demand for this service as it saves customers the hassle of searching for an auto, negotiating the fare when drivers refuse to go by the meter, security issues, as well the problem of hiring expensive cabs", she says.
While this promises to be of use to customers, Mittal acknowledges that sustaining the initiative is going to be a challenge. "I had heard of such a service in Pune, but I believe it shut down because of the low margins. Ours won't be a hugely profitable business either, but more on the lines of a socially useful venture", she concludes.