In this conversation with Financial Express Online, Savaari Car Rentals CEO and founder shares that while 'emergency travel' has become a part of people's lives, a complete resumption of travel can be expected only by September.
With the second wave of COVID-19, emergency travel is now on the rise! As many states implement lockdowns to curb the spread of coronavirus, traveling within a state itself has become difficult. Notably, travel guidelines in India are state-specific and changing frequently and with the ambiguity surrounding the e-passes, Savaari Car Rentals has got its customer support teams in sync with the latest state-wise pass-issuing guidelines. These teams are not only helping customers with the legit pass-related information but also handholding and assisting them throughout the process until they obtain one.
According to Gaurav Aggarwal, CEO and Founder, Savaari Car Rentals, “Strict lockdown guidelines have led to the shutting down of public transportations for local travel in many states. People are instead opting for half-day car rentals in order to travel to the vaccination centres. Not only do these cabs ensure safe commuting in a dedicated space but also eliminates the need to book a second ride back home, minimising the risk of exposure through two different vehicles. Consequently, Savaari’s local hourly rentals have recorded a spike.”
In this conversation with Financial Express Online, Savaari Car Rentals CEO and founder shares that while ’emergency travel’ has become a part of people’s lives, a complete resumption of travel can be expected only by September as a huge percentage of the population is expected to be inoculated with at least the first dose of the vaccine.
He further highlights that Savaari has received multiple bookings from repeat customers since the onset of the second wave of covid. To prioritise customer safety, all Savaari cars are equipped with a sanitizer. Customers are also encouraged to carry their own bed-sheet to be placed on the seat for added safety.
“In fact, the number is a whopping 35%, thereby reaffirming customer faith in Savaari’s services during these distressing times. Our Net Promoter Score (NPS) for the month of April is an industry-high number at 68% with a near perfect fulfillment rate of 99.77%, indicative of the positive customer feedback and trust in Savaari’s superior covid precautions,” Gaurav Aggarwal informs.
You mentioned that Savaari Car Rentals has witnessed a 35% increase in the one-way service since the onset of the second wave of COVID-19. Tell us more about the popular routes.
The rise in emergency/essential travel has led to a spike in Savaari’s One-way and Hourly Local car rental services. A majority of our current bookings are centred around trips to hospitals and vaccination centres.
To ensure a smooth, safe and sanitized ride for people in need, Savaari has introduced affordable One-way services across 15 lakh routes in the country.
Given the soaring ambulance demand and charges, people in Tier III cities are opting for intercity cabs to ferry coronavirus patients to the nearby metro/Tier II cities in the hope of better healthcare facilities [e.g. Bhilwara – Jaipur, Nanded – Pune and Kollegal – Bangalore].
The dearth in the availability of vaccines in metro cities are encouraging people to travel to nearby smaller cities to get themselves vaccinated. As a result, bookings for routes like Bangalore-Kunigal, Delhi-Ghaziabad and Chennai-Tiruvallur have seen a rise.
What specific measures are you taking to ensure that you are transporting people safely and what about e-pass procedures?
A rich and up-to-date content pack is bundled and sent to customers with the latest government advisory, clear protocols and safety measures that have been put into place.
Savaari has educated its driver partners on the precautionary guidelines issued by the WHO.
Savaari’s cabs are disinfected and aired thoroughly before and after every trip. As a personal hygiene practice, drivers wear facemasks, sanitize their hands regularly and distance themselves from customers as much as possible. Every car is equipped with a bottle of sanitizer for customer’s use.
There are several nuances that drivers have been trained to further reduce transmissibility – They make sure that they are the single points of contact to open doors for passengers, and they ensure that they do not handle or load luggages of passengers.
On the customer front, in addition to the mandatory face mask, Savaari also advises them to carry a bedsheet to be placed on the seat and discourages them to sit on the front seat to maintain social distance.
Moreover, Savaari has documented the state wise epass guidelines for all customers and call centre team on the official website, updating the latest on-ground information received from its regional operations team across India every day.
Armed with the most authentic information on travel restrictions and guidelines for all states, they have established expertise and have been fully equipped to facilitate intercity travel for their customers.
What is the most important takeaway from a safe travel perspective?
The most important takeaway is that we have been very transparent in our service quality with our customers as well as very agile in educating both our drivers and customers about the evolving situations during this pandemic. This agility has enabled all the key stakeholders to make small but impactful adjustments in the way they operate.
How well are your staff sensitized to the critical aspects of safe travel and how much of training is already inbuilt?
Despite the fear of contracting the virus looming large, people must step out of their homes for essential/emergency travel. Under these circumstances, the inherent advantage of dedicated space and door to door connectivity, has led to car rentals emerging as the safest mode of commute.
Team Savaari acknowledges and fully appreciates the responsibility we have been trusted with.
We are also ensuring our support team and chauffeurs are well informed about the latest guidelines with respect to road travel.
Our chauffeurs are trained through various modes of safety measures and personal hygiene practices like frequent hand washing, wearing masks at all times while ferrying customers, practicing social distancing etc.