With the emergence of ride-hailing services, bike-taxis have gained popularity as a made-for-India solution. Ola Mobility Institute (OMI) has come up with a study which estimates the revenue potential of bike taxis is at $4-5 billion along with generating over 2 million livelihood opportunities in the next few years. Factoring in trips in rural areas as well, the overall economic opportunity presented by bike-taxi is indeed the new shared mobility frontier for India, says the study.
It suggests that the key to effectively governing bike taxis as a mobility category lies in providing coherent legal clarity, integration of public transit systems, allowing access to formal credit for driver entrepreneurs and creating a level-playing field for all stakeholders.
“India has one of the largest number of two-wheelers plying on the roads in the world. Shared mobility and hyperlocal delivery are witnessing strong uptake and bikes have emerged as the preferred choice for both passenger and goods movement,” says Anand Shah, Head, Ola Mobility Institute. “The report comes at a critical time when India needs to create 55-60 lakh new jobs annually over the next decade. Bike taxis will be key in achieving this target, democratising access to mobility and building an inclusive mobility ecosystem.”
OMI in its detailed study has conducted an empirical analysis of bike taxi operations in Gurugram and Jaipur. The study found that bike taxis are an ideal first mile-last mile solution as 70-85% of customers prefer to use bike-taxis to travel distances less than 7 km. In Gurugram, it has been observed that 1 in 3 trips are to and from metro stations with the majority of trips happening during peak hours.
The report further quantifies the benefits of bikes-taxis in providing affordable and safe first and last-mile connectivity, income augmentation and job-creation. It provides a detailed explanation of how States and UTs in India stand to gain socially and economically by legitimising the operations of bike taxis.
The Central Government has paved the way for States to formulate policies for bike-taxi operations, however, currently, only a few States and Union Territories regulate this category.
“State governments can unlock the potential of bike-taxis as an affordable, efficient, fast and a safe mode of transportation to help India become a five trillion-dollar economy,” said OMI.
India is the world's largest two-wheeler market with nearly 63,000 two-wheelers sold in the country every day. Also, half of the households in big cities and developed rural areas own two-wheelers. There are 102 two-wheelers for every 1000 persons in the country as against 22 cars per 1000 individuals. The study says, one in three Indians use two-wheelers to commute to and fro for work and these vehicles are primarily a utilitarian choice for Indians rather than an aspirational or lifestyle choice. The study also says that the two-wheelers constitute 81 per cent of the automobiles sold in India; thereby becoming one of the leading contributors to India’s GDP.
Bike taxi companies and platforms are betting big on this space. Ola Bikes is currently running in 200 cities and towns with over 300,000 bike-partners. Uber Moto is completing over 150,000 trips a day across 30 cities. Another top player Rapido is present in over 90 cities with 500,000 partners catering to 10 million customers. Also, Baxi Fresh, one of the first bike-taxi companies has pivoted into providing hyperlocal deliveries.