App-based, exclusive office commute cabs enter city

Offering exclusive home-office-home commute options accessed through a mobile app, new players such as Routematic have emerged in Bengaluru as an alternative to Ola and Uber.

Dedicated mobile app-based cabs that ply exclusively from your home to office and back, without surge-pricing or the unpredictability of commute time associated with Ola or Uber. Companies in Bengaluru are now switching to this model, offering employees the option as an incentive.

Here’s how it works: the app for employees helps him/her book the cab, track it and offer feedback. The driver app gets information on all his trips with a paperless billing process. The billing model differs with companies, although most firms prefer to do it at the end of every month.

A key player in this emerging market, Routematic has entered Bengaluru with a three-level internal technology automation solution for a company’s transport team, employees and drivers.

“The average commute time from home to office in the city is 55-60 minutes one way. Employers are now offering app-based commute as a perk, something that is available 24/7,” says Routematic co-founder Surajit Das. Ola and Uber might have revolutionised point-to-point commute. Office-goers had switched to this, dumping their personal vehicles. However, surge-pricing, unavailability of these cabs during rains and waiting issues with shared taxis forced employees to look elsewhere.

But arranging an office cab meant a complicated process  that required documentation, multiple emails and paperwork. “Route automation changed that,” notes Das. “On clicking a button, our app throws up the most optimal routes. Automated tripsheets are delivered to the drivers.”

Drivers, just as in the app-based taxi aggregators, own the vehicle. The vast majority, about 70 to 70%, are sedans and hatchbacks. SUVs constitute 13-14%, while 7-8% are made up by 12-17 seaters. “Drivers are guaranteed minimum fares and customers. Suppose an employee is dropped from Electronics City to Hebbal, our network ensures that the return trip is occupied,” Das explains.

Presence in Pune

Having established itself in Pune, Routematic entered Bengaluru three months ago. With more players emerging in this nascent market, tying up with more companies, the number of private vehicles in the office-home routes could see a dip.

Routematic alone has proposed to increase its fleet of vehicles to 2,000 by December 2019.

Safety of women passengers has been a big concern. The new platform introduced a set of new features to make it foolproof: women passenger car hot-tracking, safe drop confirmation and a call-masking feature, besides a panic button to trigger emergence response from a company’s transport team.

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