[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Internet era has made it possible for us to get everything we want with a single tap on our mobile screens sitting on our couches. The advent of radio cabs and proliferation of app based cab hailing solutions is one big example of how mobile and internet technology has made life easy for us. Cabs might have made the ride very comfortable but have surely put a lot of pressure on the existing city infrastructure causing problems of traffic congestion. The useful man hours spent in traffic and traveling can be effectively utilized in improving the quality of life.
How do you feel when you see a two-wheeler easily surpassing you and a hundred other wheels while you sit in your car (owned or hired) stuck in a traffic jam ? Jealous right? There are times where you would feel really grateful if you were on that two wheeler and could ride away quickly and avoid the big traffic jams.The infrastructure in the city for public transport is currently stretched to its limit and never keeps pace with the growing aspirations and demand of the citizens. Both of these issues have still remained unresolved in the public transport sector.
The Solution to Commutation Problem
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]eyTaxi is a fantastic initiative that particularly addresses these pain points in commercial transportation services. HeyTaxi was launched to introduce an option of moving around the city on 2 wheels, thus redefining the way logistics of people and parcels could be handled in the intra-city scape on a hyper local level. It would address the prevailing problems of commuting time and stress due to traffic congestion in the city.
Along with providing passenger travel the company is also building an InstaCourier service. The nature of on-demand behavior of consumers was to get things from one place to the other without having to engage their existing resources. In this day and age of out sourcing everything, the founders saw a great potential for the courier part of their service offering. Both these models, of passenger travel and courier service, on real time basis addresses quite a few issues that customers are facing today and the founders are very sure that there will be huge demand for their services. Also there is no other service that offers such facilities at this point in time in their target location.
The company started its beta-operation on the 8th of June, 2015. In a city like Mumbai of 20 million plus people, approximately more than 2 million rides happen everyday, the company’s services shall appeal to more than 50 percent of the population. On an average HeyTaxi expects their services to be useful to more than 500,000 commuter rides on a daily basis.
The Logistics Managers
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Co-founders of HeyTaxi are Mr. Manoj Maheshwari and Mr. Vikram Lakhotia. Mr. Manoj comes with an experience of managing over 250 vehicles on a car rental basis in the passenger logistics segment for over 25 years gaining exceptional skills in system formation and operational execution. Mr. Vikram Lakhotia has an M.Sc in Supply Chain and Logistics Management from Singapore. His key skills include last mile delivery and road freight transport.
Under their guidance their team has developed a tech product with a strong back end that automates the entire business process and requires minimal human support. The pilot launch with free rides during the entire month has helped them to acquire over 2500 customers. They are currently operational in South Mumbai and are planning to roll out to city wide operations by December.
The InstaCourier service on the app is not far behind and has begun to generate traction on the system. They will roll out their B2B plans for delivery services in the coming months.
The Rider and Ride Sharing Challenge
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he initial challenge for HeyTaxi was the development of technology as the vision was to have a comprehensive system that required minimal human intervention. The design and structuring of the systems was developed after much deliberation. They also had to face a roadblock with the RTA regulations which didn’t permit two wheeler taxis in the current form as is most popular all over the world. The model had to be tweaked to a ‘RideSharing’ concept acting as a matching engine to formalize the structure of the engagement between the rider and the ride seeker.
Quality in screening rider aggregation for deliveries was another challenge as a thorough background check had to be done to get the most verifiable riders. The riders had to be entrusted with the customer parcels and hence screening was paramount to the company’s functionality . They are overcoming the rider shortage by inciting the job with trip bonuses and intensive training and monitoring .
They want to create a women rider base to allow women passengers to be able to seek rides. A challenge exists in aggregating female riders as they are few in numbers . They may have to train dedicated women riders to fill in the void.
“Perseverance is a key trait that needs to be shown while engaging in a startup idea.”
It is the key point that one could learn from the HeyTaxi’s journey so far. The founders believe that tweaking the model and adapting it to the market requirement is a primary skill set to have. The market is so fluid that from the inception to the actual launch that the dynamics change and having a flexible approach with an open mindset has been a pre-requisite for them. ‘No fixed solution exists for any problem’ has to be the approach through the execution process.
They have not just considered this as a mere guidance, but have adopted this strategy and made it a unique selling point for their growth. If we look closely, they have addressed an unresolved issues.
- The efficient movement of two wheels has saved the commuting time.
- The price points aren’t actually the current draw but more adoption of the service is bound to lead to lower costs and create the gap from the existing alternatives.
- Ease of use with booking on apps has also been a major draw from the current booking behavior.
This definitely has to be an exciting time for them as they are being dispatched into the real world and their services are being rolled out on a commercial basis. The founders aim to create a niche in the RideSharing and InstaCourier segment as both the offerings are unique with few comparisons to deal with. It is an interesting challenge as they seek to create awareness around the uniqueness of their offerings.
They are seeking to increase the registered customer base by aligning themselves with youth events and engaging with targeted audiences and commuters at every possible level. They have rolled out the offerings to every part of the city and created the road map for expansion to other cities.
The Taxi Fare
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he founders are preparing themselves to actively seek funding and align with people having complementary skills to take the company to the next level. They are also looking to partner with professionals having similar vision and required experience and skill sets to come aboard with equity participation.
So the next time, you’re in Mumbai and want to get the feel of a traffic free city or send a parcel across the city, all you have to do is, ask for a RideSharing or InstaCourier by HeyTaxi.