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Office ride-sharing app to double bus routes in city
In the backdrop of the auto slowdown, a start-up in the auto space is keen on a business model aimed at bringing down the ownership of privately-owned vehicles in the country. Shuttl, an urban mobility innovator, offers ride sharing-based bus services in six cities (Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad) with Chennai being the latest addition to its network.
A top official speaks about the innovations brought into the ride sharing space and the company’s plans going forward.
Co-founded by IITians Amit Singh (CEO) and Deepanshu Malviya (COO) in 2015, the Gurugram-based company runs 1,800 buses pan India with a daily ridership of over 90,000 rides. Its claims to saving 132 tonnes of CO2 daily, taking 26,000 cars off the road each day. In Chennai, the company operates 100 buses with over 2000 rides daily, on 20 routes.
Speaking to DTNext, Malviya says, “This year we are looking at expansion in a big way. We started in Chennai in August this year, after we launched in Mumbai. We would like a 2 to 3x growth in the next 6 to 12 months –doubling our current scale and operate on 55 routes connecting major residential neighbourhoods and offices in Chennai, within a year.” Shuttl started its services on the OMR and connected it to several residential areas. Now, it is set to build its presence in other commercial hubs.
The company raised a round of investment worth $17 mn in the first half of 2019 and cumulatively $45-50 mn investment has gone into the start-up. To augment our plans of growth, we set up an R&D centre in Bengaluru last month. The idea is to build capabilities here from the learnings that we have had in the last four years. Our main proposition is to provide comfort in a cost and space efficient way – a guaranteed A/c seat in a large bus, that takes away traffic from the road.”
Malviya, who believes futuristic technology will be a major disruptor in the transport sector, says, “On the driver’s side, we use facial recognition, which allows only the authorised driver to operate the bus. On the consumer end, we have sound-based authentication. Every time a user enters a bus, he/she needs to interact with the app, which provides a sound, deciphered by the driver app. It authenticates the identity of the person, allowing only authorised users to be onboarded.”
He adds, “We are also looking at Augmented Reality – for instance logical/non-physical bus stops – which is still in the beta phase. In the absence of physical infrastructure, a smartphone can be your guide to an AR- bus stop.”
“Private vehicle ownership must come down as major metros are turning unliveable due to traffic. Shared transport needs to become more comfortable, convenient and user-friendly. Only then will people be able to opt for this, Malviya sums up.