Bengaluru-based Roppen Transportation Services, which runs bike taxi service Rapido, on Thursday announced its foray into the on-demand auto hailing service.
Commuters in 14 cities can book auto rickshaws at metre prices, along with a convenience fee, a statement said. While the company did not name the cities it has launched the service in, it said it would expand the Rapido Auto offering to 50 cities by the year-end.
For the first phase, Rapido said it has already onboarded 20,000 autos, and looks to increase this number to more than half a million in the next six months.
“While the auto service industry is highly penetrated, it has only 5% of its existing market online. Through Rapido Auto, we aim to offer commuters another safe and affordable option for their everyday commute, what is standardised in pricing and operations.” Aravind Sanka, co-founder of Rapido, said.
Each Rapido auto will be powered with GPS technology, which will enable tracking and sharing ride status in real time. The application will also have an in-app feedback mechanism to ensure a safe experience for commuters, the statement said.
In light of the pandemic, the startup said that safety protocols, such as sanitisation of the vehicles and mandatory usage of masks, will be followed. The ride captain or the user can cancel the ride for free if either party is not wearing a mask, it said.
In July, CEO Sanka told TechCircle that 30% of its business stemmed from the new logistics lines. However, he added that the company would not pivot and will continue to focus on bike taxis.
In June, the startup launched Rapido Store, a service to assist offline and online platforms with business deliveries. A month before that, it launched an on-demand solution for peer-to-peer delivery, called Rapido Local.