You could call it scaling down to scale up. Much along the lines of car-pooling services come bike pooling (ride-sharing) services that aim to disrupt the way people travel intra-city, offering a cost-effective alternative and beat the traffic. Two start-ups, Ridingo and Letsride.in, have ventured into this segment and are even on their way to raising funds.
While Letsride lets its riders decide the price, Ridingo has fixed the cost of the ride Rs 5 per kilometre, which works out to less than half the cost of an auto ride and one-fourth that of a taxi service.
Ridingo, an app-based two-wheeler ride sharing platform that launched in Bengaluru a month ago, has 10,000 downloads already and has registered 250-plus rides on its platform. This start-up is by TheKarrier team, the on-demand truck service provider started by Aravind Sanka, an IIT alumnus, along with Pavan Guntupalli and Rishikesh Ramanath. Letsride, started a year ago, operates in Pune and Bengaluru, and has registered close to 10,000 rides till date. Letsride is planning to launch an app with an integrated payment solution to enable cashless transaction. Both start-ups are looking to raise seed round funding in the next two months.
Speaking to FE, Sanka said, “India is a two-wheeler-dominated country and there are more number of empty seats compared to four-wheelers. Two-wheeler ride sharing will not just solve the problem in metro cities but will also help to solve the transport problem in tier II and tier III cities and towns.”
Sitting in the passenger seat is one thing, but riding pillion is another. With no regulations in place, to ensure that the safety and security aspects are respected, Ridingo is currently hand-picking riders for the platform. Ridingo also plans to limit the speeds using speed governors and penalise riders for overspeeding by tracking the ride using GPS.
“Though the trust level is higher in two-wheeler ride sharing, we are placing the security aspect as a high priority. We are not on-boarding every rider who registers with us. Though we are open to all, currently we choose members after inspecting the vehicle and doing a riding test. This is to ensure that the pillion feels safe and secure,” Sanka said.
According to the ministry of road transport, one in 10 Indians owns a two-wheeler (96 two-wheelers per 1,000 persons). Two-wheelers constitute 72% of the total 160-million vehicle population in India. An EY report, “The rise of the sharing economy: India Landscape”, says globally the sharing economy is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 139.4% to reach $115 billion by 2016 from $3.5 billion in 2012.
Releasing the report at the Nasscom Product Conclave, Ranjan Biswas, partner and national director at EY, had said, “Still at its nascent stage across most sectors in India, the concept of the sharing economy, at the moment, is more about consuming services than sharing resources.”
Aprameya Radhakrishna, founder of TaxiForSure, while drawing a comparison with the car-pooling service, said that the adoption rate in the car-pooling segment in India was much lower compared with the US and there were other real challenges that need to be addressed.
“First, there is a social barrier — unlike in the West, here the person who owns a car hesitates to share a ride as he considers its a status symbol. On the other side, the cost will turnout to be high as well. So, it is ideal to start bike pooling service,” he said.
Unlike the two-wheeler taxi service, like the one that exists in Goa, both these start-ups are concentrating on personal vehicle ride sharing. Two-wheeler taxi service is faced with regulatory issues. Earlier this year, due to lack of regulation and security concerns, the Mumbai RTO had ordered the shutting down of two-wheeler taxi service provider Hey Taxi within a week of its launch.