Friday, October 26, 2018

Now, call an auto rickshaw at doorstep by app


PUNE: With more than 80 confirmed bookings in just the past week, the autorickshaw-on-call service, which was recently started by the autorickshaw drivers’ unions in the city, has gained quick popularity.

The service can be accessed using a toll-free number: 98591-98591.“Though the ‘Rickshaw app’ was launched a month ago, we started the autorickshaw-on-call service on October 18. Already, 425 vehicles have registered with us. Like Ola and Uber, we are trying to rope in more autorickshaw drivers and are also coordinating with the Pune RTO,” said Baba Shinde, the president of the Maharashtra Rajya Vahan Chalak Malak Pratinidhi Mahasangh.

Rahul Shitole, the founder of the startup called Treta Kalp, which has developed the system, told that the highest number of bookings were made from areas like Camp, Navi Peth, Warje and Sun City on Sinhagad Road.

“While we are excited about the response, there is still a long way to go. The unions are making sure that more autorickshaw drivers become a part of our initiative. The city has a large number of autorickshaws and some of them are already registered with Ola and Uber. But there is still a big market to tap into,” Shitole said.

“Our system has been approved by the Pune RTO, which has been supporting us. The RTO officials are also monitoring the service from time-to-time. Therefore, the chance of an autorickshaw driver refusing a trip is almost nil. As time progresses, we will add new features,” he added.

The service is also different from Ola or Uber. Passengers can directly call a number and book autorickshaws for themselves. However, at the moment, bookings are confirmed only if a registered autorickshaw is available within a 2km radius of the passenger. “As the number of registered autorickshaws increases, the operations will be expanded,” Shitole said.

Abhimanyu Jadhav, a working professional, who has used the app, said he was happy with the experience. “I tried it out around a fortnight ago and found it to be hassle-free. The main issues with autorickshaws here are refusals and fleecing. I hope the new system takes care of these problems,” he said.


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