Prologue: I landed at Bangalore airport and had an urgent meeting at Hosur Road scheduled in next 2 hours. And I get to experience the infamous Bangalore traffic and arrived at the meeting venue only after 3 hours (all thanks to major traffic junctions such as Hebbal, Manyata Tech Park, KR Puram, Marathalli, Silk Board etc). I lose a major deal and the effort of my visit to Bangalore was nullified.
The above situation is not only a reality for Bangalore, but for almost all metropolitan cities in India. While the taxi hailing apps have found tremendous acceptance, a gap is yet to be filled. Even though cabs provide the luxury of being chauffer driven and carrying luggage around; time is something that it can’t substitute.As a resident of Bangalore, I can very confidently say that ‘Two wheelers are the fastest mode of transportation in the city’. The age of Bikes being used as commercial taxi is now here. There is definitely a latent need and has yet to be realized by service providers in the sub-continent.
Bikes as Taxis are already well-accepted in Goa (driven by men called pilots) and many developing countries worldwide. Its extensive usage has been seen in highly congested cities like Jakarta in Indonesia and in many cities of Japan and Vietnam. Find here the terminologies used for bike taxis in various parts of world:
Indonesia can be cited as the most suitable where bike taxis have flourished and start-ups providing the service have grown multifold. The best example for flourishing bike taxi startup can be Go-Jek and GrabBike. Both combined already have over 80,000 registered bike taxi riders in South East Asia!
Image Source- Scooters Bangkok Nana by Khaosaming
Why Bike Taxi can work in India –
Time-saver : Yes, Time is one of the most important factor in today’s transportation!
Last mile connectivity: There is no place that can’t be reached in a 2-wheeler.
Chauffer-driven Bike: Can save you from the hassles of riding in strenuous traffic conditions.
Pocket Friendly: Obviously, the critical factor and let’s see the comparison with a traditional 4-wheeler taxi –
One would save over Rs.130 on a 10km travel in a Bike Taxi vis-a-vis a cab ride. PS: The Bike Taxi fares are calculated using the fares announced by recently formed Indian startup named Baxi. While similar startups are seeded in Delhi/NCR, the current Motor Vehicles Act is not encouraging similar businesses at other cities. With minor amendments in the Act, we expect the trend to catch the fancy of the Indian traveler and predict multi-fold growth in the acceptance of service.
Challenges for Bike Taxi in India:
Motor Vehicle Act: Lack of licensing pushed companies such as “Bikees” and “HeyTaxi” to reconsider their business operations.
Safety Concern: The biggest challenge to the passengers will be safety considering Indian road/driving conditions are not favorable to bikers and exposure to rains/sunlight/wind is also there. (However, in developed nations, safety measures such as mandatory helmets, airbag vests, etc are being used for pillion riders.)
3-wheelers / Autos: Auto Rickshaws already claim to provide the benefits of low-cost transportation and seems to be a safer alternative to bikes.
Current Players in the market –
We at Management Punditz think that Baxi and M-Taxi have taken steps in the right direction and expect radical evolution in the way people would commute in Bike Taxis. Will they be as disruptive as Olas and Ubers? – only time will tell.