RAPIDO RE-INNOVATES TO CATER TO POST COVID-19 LAST MILE CONNECTIVITY
Auto Tech Review|August 2020
The rapid pace of urbanisation in the country has witnessed cities expanding and subsuming surrounding villages and smaller towns, evolving into Tier II and III cities.
Suhrid Barua

This boon of urbanisation has necessitated the need for improved means of last mile connectivity – commuting from point A to B leveraging public mode of transportation for livelihood and personal purposes has been far from a cosy exercise. Bengaluru-based Rapido has provided a coating of ‘innovation’ to last-mile connectivity with its app-based bike taxi services that promises to offer a better commuting experience. Auto Tech Review caught up with Aravind Sanka, Co-Founder, Rapido to understand how the bike taxi start-up has managed to entrench itself in the market and challenges encountered owing to the outbreak of COVID-19, among others.

Founded in October 2015 by the trio of Rishikesh SR, Pavan Guntupalli and Aravind Sanka, Rapido like any other start-up endured the initial struggles and its two-wheeler ride-hailing platform steadily grew popular, and is now offered in more than 100 cities, serving over 10 mn customers and is consistently adding new users every day. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has left a damaging effect on businesses, especially shared mobility providers, which prompted Rapido to work its socks-off to remain business-relevant over the past few months. The focus of the company was on ensuring protection of its customers as well as its captains (driver-partners). The resumption of bike taxi operations after the national lockdown phase has been a source of big relief for Rapido’s around 15 lakh captains, as their livelihood was at stake, said Sanka.

According high priority to every safety parameter, Rapido made it mandatory for its captains to install the Aarogya Setu app before they start accepting orders, besides adhering to safety protocols such as wearing mask at all times, helmets, hair nets, etc. The captains were adequately trained to regularly sanitise their bikes as well as sanitise the pillion seat before on-boarding customers for a ride. Sanka said bike taxis are a more open and personalised intra-city travel as opposed to other crowded alternatives like cabs, buses, autos and trains, wherein customers have less exposure to any infection due to limited interaction with the captain.

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