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Travel quick and cheap with bike taxis


Rapido bike taxi
The convenience of travelling on a two-wheeler inside the congested bylanes of a city often outweighs the luxury of driving a car. In the snail-paced traffic, it's the bike that can keep you moving. And the next time, you wish you actually had a bike, simply call rapido, the newly launched bike taxi service. The Bangalore-based company has started services in Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi and commuters are finding it easy and economical.

“The concept is to provide cheap and best transport facility for single commuters, especially to those who are in a hurry to reach their destination . There are people who may want to reach a hospital in time for an appointment, appear for exams and catch a train. And invariably, a bike is morehandy than a car or public transport,” points out Kiran Bruce, the operations manager of Rapido for the three cities. “Rapido services are available in many cities across the country including Patna, Indore, Hyderabad, Mysore and Gurgaon. We have plans of launching it in Chennai and rest of Tamil Nadu in future. However, we wanted to test the response in the small towns of the state.”

The Rapido Bike taxi is a pick and drop model that works on a mobile application. The nearest rider is directed to the customer who books a taxi. In Madurai, currently there are over 60 bikes registered with Rapido and they get around 500 bookings a day. “We call the rider a captain. They need to have a valid driving license and a bike. Anyone who owns a bike and wants to make some money out of it, can register with us for providing the services,” says Kiran. “Right now, we have only men captains and are looking for women who may want to offer rides, so that women customers feel convenient.”

With a base charge of Rs.15 and a nominal Rs.Three per kilometre, commuting on a bike taxi works out much cheaper than own transport, says Kiran. “With the recent hike in bus fares and the sky-rocketing fuel prices, it make sense to opt for a bike taxi. That way, we ensure both the customer and the rider benefits.” 27-year-old, K Arun Kumar, a bike taxi captain says that he earns around Rs.500 every day through Rapido. “I offer rides from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., except lunch time. I have a Hero Honda Splendor which I have put to good use through Rapido. Apart from fuel expenses, I get anywhere between Rs.400 to Rs.600 per day. I go on 10 to 20 rides a day, depending on the need of the customers.”

“Rapido is just a platform to connect cummuters and captains. The idea is also to promote bike pooling or sharing of vehicles. We charge minimum commission from the captains and give them incentives to encourage them into offering more rides. Apart from this, we promote road safety and awareness. All our captains and pillion riders are given helmets and are strictly asked to obey traffic rules,” says Kiran. Rapido services are available within city limits only, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. “We will be making it a 24/7 service in future as more captains join our fleet.”

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