Solving the traffic conundrum

It used to take Yatin Ahuja (name changed) nearly two hours to reach work daily. His routine required him to hail a rickshaw from home to the Metro station, board the train, get off at the station closest to his office in Gurgaon, and then board another rickshaw to reach his workplace. “It was harrowing. Two hours simply got wasted, most of the times, standing in the packed trains or looking for last mile commute options. I do not own a car, and neither can I afford a taxi daily. While reaching Gurgaon is comparatively easy, the commute within the city can be problematic,” he says.

This story resonates with many professionals who work in the NCR region. But things are changing with the launch of various bike-taxi service providers like Bikxie, M-Taxi and Baxi that offer affordable last mile connectivity options.

Baxi, which was launched on December 1, 2015 aims to fill in the huge gap in the available personalised commuting options for commuters. Similarly, following the worsening traffic situation and lack of last mile connectivity options for commuters, Bikxie was launched on January 1 as an option which is reliable, safe and convenient.

“If you look at auto rickshaws and other cheap modes of commuting from a personalised pick-up point to a personalised drop-off point, there isn’t anything available for less than Rs 40-50 for the last-mile commute. With Baxis, the cost of personalised trips of the last-mile commute can be reduced to approximately Rs 25, which helps a large number of people. This means that Baxis can help save approximately 10 per cent of the salary of a lot of blue collar workers, and early stage white collar workers, and hence be a valuable service to them,” Manu Rana, founder of Baxi, tells Metrolife.

Such two-wheeler taxi services are already popular in many countries across the world including Indonesia, China, Thailand, Sweden and Cameroon. The prices too are economical, with Bikxie charging Rs 10 for the first two kilometres and Rs 5 for every subsequent kilometre, M-Taxi charging Rs 20 for the first two kilometres and Rs 5 for every subsequent kilometre, and Baxi charging Rs 10, and then Rs 4 for every kilometre and Re 1 for every minute.

But it is not only about being economical, as Arunabh Madhur, founder and CEO, M-Taxi points out. He says two-wheelers can easily cut across heavy traffic and are quicker than four wheelers. He adds that passengers can avail their services in three ways.

“They can either book a ride on our Android app; or call on an IVR number which would connect them to a rider closest to them; or they can even hail a bike taxi parked across the various Metro stations and office spaces in Gurgaon,” he says.

Generally available between 7.30 am and 8 pm, Baxi is operational in Gurgaon and Faridabad, while M-Taxi and Bikxie are available only in Gurgaon. The service providers claim that the response has been “phenomenal” and “astounding” and sometimes do up to 1,000 rides a day.

But since there are women professionals who opt for such services, have some security measures been undertaken? Answering, Mohit sharma, co-founder and CEO, Bikxie says the company did an internal research and found out that while male passengers would opt for a fast and reliable two-wheeler taxi with enthusiasm, female passengers would be reluctant on account of safety concerns and apprehension of riding behind male drivers.

“To make female customers feel safe, we launched Bikxie Pink service on January 20 with female pilots for women commuters only. We have purchased 10 new bikes for males and five scooties for females,” says Mohit sharma, co-founder and CEO, Bikxie.

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