Bike taxi start-up, Rapido, is expanding its auto service to Bengaluru. The company has on-boarded about 20,000 autos for the launch and plans to take the count to more than 50,000 by the end of the year. With this expansion, Rapido will have a presence in 26 cities in India.

Rapido auto service will be available at the meter price, in line with the State-defined rate card (minimum fare for the first 1.9 km is ₹25 and ₹13 for every additional kilometre). Each Rapido auto will also have a GPS to enable users to track and share their rides in real-time.

Preferred mode of transport

Commenting on the announcement, Shravya Reddy, VP at Rapido said, “Since the onset of Covid-19, autos have emerged as the preferred mode of transport in addition to bike taxis. Auto service is highly penetrated but very scattered. There’s high offline competition and with low demand, auto drivers tend to charge high street premiums. Customers tend to shift to other modes of commutation because of uncertainties. We are aiming to strike a balance between demand and supply - bringing in more reliability and convenience for both captains and customers.”

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Rapido’s auto service was initially launched in 14 key Indian cities in October 2020 and was later extended to 11 more cities. So far, Rapido claims to have on-boarded 1.5 lakh autos across the country and served two million customers since launch. It plans to add 5 lakh autos across the country by the end of this year.

According to Rapido's estimates, there are close to 2.5 million daily commuters in Bengaluru and ride sharing has been able to cater to only 10 per cent of them so far. The company is betting on the shift in consumer behaviour after the pandemic, leading people to move away from shared public transport.

Rapido was founded by Aravind Sanka, Pavan Guntupalli, and SR Rishikesh in 2015. It’s bike taxi service is operational across India from Tier I to Tier III cities. Some of the investors in the company include Westbridge Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and Skycatcher.