The Curious Case of Bike Taxis - Are They Really Needed in India?

In the last few years, we have witnessed the emergence of new intra-city transport space in India - Bike Taxis. After the success of the instant cab booking apps, it is the turn of bike taxis to disrupt the local transport system in Indian cities. They have already been operating for years in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria and Philippines with great success.

In India, we don’t have many efficient and economical options for last-mile connectivity. The customer has to choose either an auto or a taxi for it. The other option is driving your own car or bike. Shared transport is not as efficient as they do not take customers to their final destination. Hence, there is still a wide gap, where the bike taxis fit aptly as a viable option.

The concept predominantly emerged when Go-Jek ventured into two-wheelers in Indonesia where traffic and congestion are common, causing huge delays and inconveniences to the people. These problems seem familiar to us too, right? In India, a couple of emerging businesses are tapping this territory, trying to solve the last mile commutation problem for the people. In cities like Gurgaon and Bangalore, where tens of thousands of people commute on a daily basis to work, the problem is as real as it gets and it will only surface more in other cities soon.

With the ever-rising traffic congestion, high cab fares and overcrowded public transports, bike taxis find their way through all these problems. Bikes are quicker to wade through the traffic, saving time for the daily commuters and are economical as well. The average running cost of a motorcycle is just INR 4-5/km and has a lifespan of 15 years. The costs could further decrease if the company adapts electric scooters. It might as well be cheaper than the public transport system. Furthermore, the average trip length is less than 10 km in India and makes it easier for the commuters to ride a motorcycle.

Bike taxis are gradually making progress to cater to single riders who do not wish to take a cab or an auto. One of the biggest advantages is that they can provide reliable first and last mile connectivity to public transit systems in the city like the metro, bus stop or the railway station.

Rapido’s co-founder, Mr. Aravind Sanka says, “The bike taxi service is an outcome of a market necessity and it will see more adoption in the future to make transport easier. India, with its growing traffic congestions and a gap for an efficient solution, definitely needs a vibrant bike taxi industry to provide affordable and reliable transport service to millions of commuters.”

The need for the bike taxis cannot be denied owing to its numerous advantages and the apt fit in the market. Then what is it that is making the growth slow? The biggest challenge here lies in the state regulations. Some states are welcoming the idea and we hope that, with such visible fit for the bike taxis in the Indian market, others will follow and support the industry to thrive and grow. This would definitely solve a major commutation problem for single commuters in India.