Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Bike taxi app Rapido forays into on-demand autorickshaw service

BENGALURU: Bike taxi startup Rapido has launched on-demand autorickshaw hailing service on its platform to expand its offerings at a time when the micro mobility segment has been recovering from a slump in demand.

‘Rapido Auto’ will be available in 14 Indian cities across 10 states. User will have to pay an additional convenience fee in addition to the meter price, indicating that Rapido will not set a floor price unlike competitors Ola and Uber who also provide on-demand autorickshaw services.

The company plans to expand services to 50 cities in India by the end of 2020. This is the first phase of the launch and Rapido has on-boarded 20,000 auto captains--autorickshaw driver-partners--so far.

Rapido also plans to onboard more than 500,000 autorickshaws in the next six months. Auto drivers can self onboard by downloading Rapido Captain app or calling the Rapido helpline number.

“Autos have emerged as a preferred way of commuting post the COVID-19 pandemic after bike taxis. While the auto service industry is highly penetrated, it has only 5% of its existing market online. Through Rapido Auto, we aim to offer commuters another safe and affordable option for their everyday commute, apart from our Bike Taxi service, that is standardized in pricing and operations," said Aravind Sanka, Co-Founder, Rapido, in a statement.

Auto drivers will be trained to sanitise and clean the seats and all customer accessible areas, post every ride, along with mandatory usage of masks during the entire ride by the Captains and passengers. The company has also introduced a new policy support, offering free cancellation if the drivers or customers are not wearing a mask.

Post lockdown, implemented in March to help control spread of covid-19, public transport and mobility services had remained non-operational for almost five months. This had hit mobility startups such as Rapido, Bounce, VOGO, Yulu, and cab hailing platform including Ola and Uber.

Some bike rental firms, which previously had large fleets of two-wheelers, had begun selling off their assets to keep costs at check.

However, as soon as different segments of the economy began unlocking in June mobility firms have turned their focus to last mile logistics services. In July, Uber expanded its business to customer (B2C) and customer to customer (C2C) logistics services in India, while Rapido launched ‘Rapido Store’, a new inter-city logistics service for businesses to deliver products at consumers' doorsteps.

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