Technology has completely transformed the way our daily lives function. The boom in the smartphone industry has brought about an even bigger upswing in the number of service-related apps, and India has become the hub for such innovation. Not only have service-oriented apps from western countries set up shop in India, Indians themselves have put out many such businesses, with increasing consumer demands. Today, everything has changed. We order groceries on Grofers or Big Basket, we have Urban Clap or Local Oye for finding technicians or event a beautician, we have the best restaurant food delivered to our doorsteps thanks to Zomato, we have cut down on car shopping and take an Uber or an Ola instead, and soon we won't even need a car, for a slew of start-ups are planning to take us on bike rides (just like they do in Bangkok) to beat the traffic mayhem. All this has been made possible because of one single device - the smartphone.
While smartphones are something we talk about all the time, for now, let us focus on another cool start-up idea. Something that may not only save you money, but also relieve you from the daily mundane activity of sitting around in traffic and wishing you had an eject button in your car. Meet Bike Taxi start-ups- M-Taxi and Baxi.
"All this has been made possible because of one single device - the smartphone"
M-Taxi is a Gurgaon-based startup formed in Februrary this year by Founder-CEO, Arunabh Madhur. The company not only offers bike-taxi services for commuters, but is also a last-mile connectivity solution for businesses. Users of the M-Taxi app can book a ride just like they do on any other cab service app. M-Taxi maps the user's location, and deploys riders on bikes for pick-ups. Alternatively, the M-Taxi app can also be used to book delivery of packages and parcels within the city. While writing this article, the M-Taxi app has still not surfaced on any app store, but on visiting the website, one can register themselves by entering their mobile numbers, and expect a notification through SMS once the app launches on iOS, Android and Windows. M-Taxi is currently planning to initiate the launch of the service in Gurgaon only, and later spread it to other parts of Delhi-NCR. Commenting on the security aspect in an interview to Techcircle, Madhur said, “All our riders go through background verification, are trained on behavioural and efficiency aspects and also on hygiene and safety.” An M-Taxi can be hired for Rs 25 for the first three kilometers, followed by a charge of Rs. 5 for for every subsequent kilometer.
Short for Bike taxi, Baxi is yet another startup offering app-based bike taxi services for commuters in Gurgaon. Founded by Ashutosh Johri and Manu Rana, the Baxi app has already gone live on the Google Play Store and will be providing two-wheeler commuting services at what they call "half the cost of an auto." Baxi calls its driver partners 'buddies', and the company says that all of its riders can be tracked through GPS. Baxi will also provide an insurance cover to both the riders and the commuters, in case of any vehicular incident. The Gurgaon-based startup recently recieved Rs. 10 crores in seed-round funding, which it will use to expand its services to other areas. The company also hopes to have a fleet of 500 Baxis in Gurgaon, by the end of three months.
"As of now, Gurgaon is the hub"
While regulations in the Bike taxi service sector are easing in the North, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) has still not cleared proposals for such services in the city. Earlier this year, officials from MMRTA commented, "We have come across reports of motorcycles and scooters operating like taxis with the help of a mobile app and offering rides to passengers with a proposed fare of Rs 10/km. We wish to inform citizens this is not approved either by the MMRTA or the state transport authority. No such fare or tariff has been fixed either, so it will be termed illegal." As of now, Gurgaon is the hub, and is all set to ride pillion and zip to the destination of choice.