The growing demand for easy-to-call transportation has prompted Bengaluru-based taxi aggregator TaxiForSure to launch a cellphone application-based autorickshaw service in the Karnataka capital on Friday.
Those availing of the service will be able to call autorickshaws to their doorsteps, for a convenience fee of Rs 10, above the meter amount.
Raghunandan G, co-founder and chief executive officer, TaxiForSure, said the new service will benefit the autorickshaw drivers in a number of ways. It will make them aware of where they can get passengers and reduce the number of dry runs.
He added the enlisted auto drivers will also be part of the TaxiForSure Drivers’ Academy. They will be provided on-phone assistance, including different languages including Kannada, to ensure a hassle-free ride for non-Kannada speaking customers.
“We have chosen autos because of their popularity. It is ideal for short trips, within the city,” Raghunandan said.
Users can book the autos in the same version of the TaxiForSure application.
With this, the taxi aggregator, launched in 2011, will have five types of services — the Nano, sedan, hatchback, sports utility vehicles and autos.
The company has partnered with Bengaluru-based Three Wheels United for the new service. Three Wheels United is a for-profit enterprise that provides assistance to get loans and insurance to auto drivers and improve the quality of their life. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two companies on Friday.
In November last year, taxi service provider Ola had also come up with an autorickshaw service and that was preceded by mGaadi, a mobile-based auto aggregator from Bengaluru.
To start with, TaxiForSure has launched 500 autos and is planning to increase the fleet. It also plans to expand the service to other cities.
Mobile-based cab aggregators, including TaxiForSure, were at the receiving end of stringent criticism in December last year after the alleged rape of a woman by a driver of an Uber cab. The government immediately banned their services in Delhi. Since then, these firms have been in discussion with the Delhi authorities to resume their services. They are also in dialogue with different state governments to increase safety regulations and also work out mechanisms to regulate the sector.
Addressing the safety concerns with the new launch, the co-founders of TaxiForSure said autorickshaw drivers and their fleet have been verified by the police.