Rapido said the resumption of its operations is a big relief for its more than 15 lakh Captains (driver-partners), who are solely dependent on the bike taxi service for their daily livelihood
The automotive industry has been severely hit by the outbreak of COVID-19 that was accompanied by over two-month nationwide lockdown. The scenario hasn’t been any different for shared mobility service providers, who have borne the brunt of these unprecedented times. But Bengaluru-based app-enabled bike taxi aggregator Rapido is doing everything possible to ensure a ‘business as usual ’ scenario amidst consumer apprehensions over opting for public or shared transportation services. Founded in 2015 by the trio of Rishikesh SR, Pavan Guntupalli and Aravind Sanka, Rapido currently operates in close to hundred cities, serving over 10 million customers.
The bike taxi startup recently resumed operations across the country and is closely monitoring the adherence of all mandatory hygiene-related government guidelines. Rapido has undertaken adequate precautions towards ensuring safety and protection of not just its customers, but also its Captains (driver-partners). “Resuming our operations is a source of big relief for our around 15 lakh Captains (driver-partners), who are solely dependent on our bike taxi service for their daily income and livelihood. Every safety parameter has been accorded high priority on resumption of our services post-COVID-19 induced lockdown," said Aravind Sanka, Co-Founder, Rapido.
Sanka said the company has put in place adequate safety protocols to ensure not just customers but its Captains have a safer and COVID-19-free ride. “Our Captains have been instructed to wear mask at all times, hair nets as well as carry sanitisers in addition to mandatory helmets. Further, our Captains have adequately trained to ensure they sanitise their bikes at regular intervals as well as sanitise the pillion seat before onboarding customers for a ride. We are providing sanitisers and masks to all our Captains. As far as helmets are concerned, we are providing customers with mandatory sanitised half helmets as opposed to full-face helmets before every ride. Rapido is providing a checklist of items and declaration that they have to adhere to before accepting rides and this will be done every time a Captain goes online. Our high focus on hygiene will enable our customers to avail our affordable, convenient and accessible last mile connectivity,” noted Sanka.
The Rapido Co-Founder asserted that there is a great deal of responsibility on its Captains to ensure not only a safe but also a COVID-19-free ride. “We have made it mandatory for our Captains to install the Aarogya Setu app before they go into On-Duty mode and start accepting orders. Our Rapido app shows all the containment areas in this COVID-19 scenario and we are ensuring our Captains and customers don’t pass by those areas,” Sanka pointed out.
Rapido is also offering free cancellation if any of its Captains or customers come for a ride without a mask. “We have put in place a free cancellation policy, wherein customers and Captains can offer feedback about anyone not wearing a mask or not using sanitiser. We shall initiate action against violators,” he said.
The online bike taxi aggregator is currently operating in the green and orange zones for now. The company operates in red zones or containment areas only for ferrying essential items like it did during the national lockdown phase. “We joined hands with the likes of Big Basket, Big Bazar and Spencer’s Retail during the national lockdown phase in a bid to aid last-mile deliveries of orders to customers across more than 90 cities in the country,” he added.
Rapido’s two-wheeler ride-hailing platform is seen as a big draw for daily office-goers as it offers an accessible and time-saving mode of city transportation, especially for short distance rides. “It’s a more open and personalised intra city travel as opposed to other crowded alternate ways like cabs, buses, autos and trains, where the customer has an advantage of less exposure to any infection due to his/her limited interaction with the captain. I'm optimistic about the bike taxi space notwithstanding the COVID-19 backdrop,” he observed.
There must be reservations among consumers over availing shared mobility services, but Rapido is determined to ensure the feel-good experience like it was offering before the onslaught of COVID-19 hit us.