Monthly Archives: February 2014

Interesting suggestions on Nandan Nilekani’s auto rickshaw blog

By | Autos | No Comments

Nandan Nilekani, the erstwhile leader of the UID initiative and Congress candidate for the Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat, wrote this blog post about making auto rickshaws work in Bangalore.

He appears to have talked to some auto drivers (not clear how many) and has accepted some crucial facts at face value. Specifically, the one about auto drivers’ monthly net income being Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000. Several commenters (including the good folks from Meru Genie) have pointed out that it is at least Rs. 10,000 and perhaps as high as Rs. 20,000 to 25,000. There would be wide variance of course since it’s a function of how many hours one drives and whether or not the said driver is a price gouger.

What Nandan does get right is that driving an auto is one of the first jobs migrants arriving in the city seek out. It’s also true that they don’t have a stable income nor do they have any social security or benefits.

There were several interesting comments. I’ve cherry picked my favorites.

Nitin Karn has this idea for a prepaid/cash card..

Yes, a nice idea. Just to explore it a bit more, we can have auto stations, where in ppl can go and buy & pay for tickets from one place to other. With that ticket one shall be allowed to board any auto he finds. Also, day/weekly/monthly passes could be explored this way making it pretty convenient for ppl to commute at odd hours.

Sathish Yadav has a gripe on Nandan getting the data wrong. He has an intriguing analysis of the vicious circle of commuters being inconsiderate to drivers being exploitative.

For that I believe the baseline has to be set properly first… A leader must call head a head and tail a tail, if he gets his information wrong on the first attempt, what is he going to achieve… This is a such a dynamic area where situations change dynamically like traffic hours, peak traffic hours etc; passengers must be human enough to pay more in case of horrible traffic or really bad roads etc; From my experience with auto drivers is that, they are willing to come to any place you call them… provided you compensate them reasonably in case of hiccups but they say most passengers don’t do that… after seeing all this many auto drivers have to compensate for rides which were economically bad… They end up exploiting human weakness in times of festivals and events… both actions are unfair… In the end it just boils down to people… I have enough social skills to go through these situations without getting cheated or cheating anyone… but not everyone knows the value of a smile and a warm talk… Rules don’t work in such a dynamic field unless insane monitoring is in place…

Abhishek Mittal proposes restricting autos to a subset of the city (presumably like Mumbai) and also advocates electric rickshaws, now plying in Kolkata. On a related note, Delhi also has thousands of electric rickshaws.

Coming to autos, Govt should start sharing-autorickshaws in only dedicated routes like the one in Kolkata (I don’t know which other city has that). Since, the auto fare is now almost equivalent to the cabs, autos should not be allowed to transport passengers all over the city. That’ll reduce traffic a lot.

Shorter and shared trips means low cost for individuals and high income for drivers. Drivers won’t have to crib about “lautne mein passenger nahi milega” and turning away most passengers for demading extra money.

I was reading about e-Autorickshaws that are running on pilot basis in Kolkata. In single charge for 7 hours, they consumes only 3 units of power and run 120km! They could be really a great option for short distance travel (offering last mile connectivity). Check out Dianzi Rickshaw.

 

The ‘No Tension’ way to commute

By | About, Autos | No Comments

[Note to non-Indian readers: No Tension is a  common phrase used in North India to refer to no stress.]

Last week, a first-time ecstatic user (Swapna) sent us the following unsolicited feedback. I’ve reproduced it verbatim except the Hindi subset which I translated to English.

First time used it….no tension of going on road to search an auto. Came before time and no extra charges… nothing on top of meter etc. Just 2 words: “No Tension!”

THIS is the essence of the mGaadi for Autos experience. No need to go out on the road searching for an auto driver that’ll go on meter. The matching auto will come to you. If you haven’t checked out the How mGaadi Works 1-minute video, please give it a try.

 

1000 Drivers and other mGaadi Updates

By | Autos | No Comments

Screenshot_2014-02-15-21-59-44On Oct 1 2013, when we beta launched our call auto service, the mGaadi network had 300 auto rickshaw drivers. On Dec 12, when we released our Android app, the number jumped to 500. Two months and 3 days later (i.e. today), that number has doubled. Sometime this afternoon, we crossed the 4-figure mark and are now sitting at 1005. Yes – that is 1,005 auto rickshaw drivers in the mGaadi network.

In the recent past, we’ve been keeping a low profile on the customer outreach front, largely to manage the trip fulfillment rate (trips fulfilled/trip requests). With the driver enrollments and fulfillment rates at healthy levels, we’ll start a broader push towards new customer enrollments.

Many other exciting updates so please keep reading on.

Windows Phone app in beta testing

Do you have one of those slick Nokia Lumia smartphones? If you’d like to try the mGaadi app before our official release, just email us at mgaadi-beta@indiadrivers.net.

If you have some other smartphone, feel free to email us with model/OS details.

Android -> And then there were SIX

Screenshot_2014-02-15-22-26-29There used to be five ways in which you could select your dropoff and pickup locations. Now you can pan and zoom on a nifty Google Map to select your locations. The crosshairs viewfinder will remind you of your favorite   James Bond movie.

Android -> Share the Love

The oft-requested feature is finally here. If you are a regular user and want to  share the love, look for the Share App option in the context menu.

 

How many drivers in mGaadi network?

By | Autos | No Comments

image

Every friend, investor, acquaintance (and the odd commuter too) wants to know the answer.

The commuter wants to know because she is wondering when she’ll start mGaadi rides from ALL parts of Bangalore. For the investor it’s the answer to “are these guys getting traction?”
For us at mGaadi, it’s both these answers so we look at this number daily.

Every few months, we’d update the FAQ page but that’s what some plain speaking friends would call “retarded”.

We have a better way now. When the splash screen in the Android app loads, we make an API call and (voila) the latest and greatest number is displayed. As of Feb 8, this number was 924.

Will you see this functionality on www.mgaadi.com?

Not anytime soon. We want you guys to download the Android app (and Windows Phone/iOS apps soon as well)… (evil laughter ensues)

mGaadi Web Booking… now LIVE

By | Autos | No Comments

Last evening we released Version 1.0 of our web booking feature.  It doesn’t have the styling of a Windows Phone or the pizzaz of our Android app. It also doesn’t have any personalization.

But it works. So do give it a whirl.

If you don’t have an Android smartphone and you are not the type who likes to “call” to make an auto rickshaw booking, this is the feature you’ve been waiting for.

Since we don’t yet have built-in mobile verification, one of our customer service agents will give you a call to confirm that the phone# you entered is correct.

Happy auto rickshaw hailing and booking!