The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) on Thursday forayed into mobility by onboarding Namma Yatri, a Bengaluru-based auto-rickshaw booking app. The latest move by the government’s not-for-profit e-commerce platform is aimed at helping small businesses fight the growing dominance of giants like Ola and Uber, which have been accused of increasing take rates over years.
In its initial days, Namma Yatri, the technology of which was built and launched by Juspay Technologies, a payment infrastructure startup backed by SoftBank and Accel, will have a 0% commission model, sharply lower than the around 20% that ride-hailing companies like Ola and Uber currently charge. But in the next couple of months, the auto drivers’ app will roll out a subscription model where drivers would be required to pay a certain subscription fee either per trip or per day to Juspay for the software upkeep. The company, however, said that the fees would be lower than the price of a “cup of coffee”, and nowhere close to what large players like Ola and Uber charge currently.
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While the service is currently available only in Bengaluru, with ONDC’s help Namma Yatri plans to expand the offerings to multiple cities in the coming months. The portal will also get a further boost from the millions of users that Paytm and Snapdeal bring after their integration with ONDC. While Namma Yatri is a relatively new app, it has already onboarded over 45,000 drivers out of the total 150,000 auto drivers in the city. Vimal Kumar, CEO and founder of Juspay, said the app is adding about 200-300 drivers each day.
Thanks to its growing base, Namma Yatri is doing over 15,000 daily rides with an average trip fare of Rs165. With the expansion into mobility, over and above food and grocery, fashion and other categories, “now, one can shop groceries on ONDC in the afternoon and then book an auto to go out with the family in the evening,” T Koshy, CEO, ONDC, said. The network is already in talks with several other transport operators on a national level to make ONDC a multi-modal transport operator, including train journeys, bus ticketing and cab bookings, among others, he added.
“To make transportation convenient and affordable in our growing cities, it is important to provide a seamless experience to users. Open systems like ONDC enable the collaboration and interoperability needed to make it happen,” Anurag Jain, secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, said in a statement.
While the beta launch of Namma Yatri was in October, initial services were rolled out in November and it was fully opened for public use on March 16.
Both Juspay’s Kumar and Koshy dismissed any safety concerns. “Every driver that Namma Yatri onboards will be fully KYC’ed, which gives us a digital track record of which driver accepted a trip in which area,” Koshy said.
The entry into mobility comes soon after ONDC entered Flipkart and Amazon’s turf. ONDC is currently clocking 300 transactions per day with an average order value (AOV) of around Rs 300, just shy of Meesho, another e-commerce platform, which has an AOV of Rs 400. That has grown from about 40 orders per day in December last year.
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Saying that e-commerce, as a category, will completely transform when ONDC takes its full shape, Koshy said: “Even as sellers can co-exist on various platforms, they will choose to prioritise a network that has a customer base of a billion people (ONDC), rather than choosing to sell on a few platforms that only have a few hundred million customers.”
ONDC, which went live in September last year, is currently live in over 180 cities, with more than 24,000 sellers on its platform and 2.6 million stock-keeping units. It has over 21 seller apps like Paytm, GoFrugal, Spice Money and Snapdeal, while giants like Microsoft, PhonePe, ITC, IDFC First Bank, logistics units of Amazon and Flipkart, and several others are in the process of going live on the platform.