Rapido forays into rickshaw booking, eyes expanding to 50 cities by yr-end

Ride hailing app Rapido on Thursday launched auto rickshaw booking service across 14 cities

Mumbai Auto Strike
Auto rickshaws | Photo: ANI

Ride hailing app Rapido on Thursday launched auto rickshaw booking service across 14 cities.

The company plans to expand the 'Rapido Auto' service to 50 cities by the end of the year and onboard around 5 lakh driver partners in the next six months.

Rapido co-founder Aravind Sanka said auto rickshaws have emerged as a preferred way of commuting post COVID-19 pandemic after bike taxis.

"While the auto service industry is highly penetrated, it has only 5 per cent of its existing market online. Through Rapido Auto, we aim to offer commuters another safe and affordable option for their everyday commute, apart from our bike taxi service, that is standardized in pricing and operation," Sanka was quoted as saying in a statement.

The service will be available at meter price with an additional minimal convenience fee.

"The company plans to expand the auto services to 50 cities in India by the end of 2020. This is the first phase of the launch and Rapido has already onboarded 20,000 auto captains (driver-partners) so far. It has plans to onboard more than half a million in the next six months," the statement said.

The company is providing 'Rapido Captain App' and a helpline number through which auto drivers can self-onboard themselves.

Sanka said the funding raised by the company last year is sufficient to build business even during these unprecedented times.

Rapido has raised a total funding of USD 80 million (around Rs 550 crore) from various investors including Westbridge AIF, Nexus Ventures, Sabre Investment, Skycatcher LLC, Bace Fund, Integrated Growth Capital, among others.

"We are using our experience from technology and geographical presence to expand our offerings to existing users from bike taxi to logistics and now auto. Rapido Auto aligns with our vision of providing an accessible, affordable, safer, and convenient mode of transportation," Sanka said.