At a time when convenience is the buzzword, app based cab services have become quite popular in the city. But with road space remaining the same, traffic jams and congestion offering no respite at times, the cab service just may not be quicker enough. In such circumstances a bike taxi service may come handy. Accordingly, to provide last mile connectivity in the IT hub of the city, Transport Authority has roped in KBike Taxi and One Man Taxi – two-wheeler taxi services that has come as a welcome relief to commuters looking for a cheaper ride and cutting down on travel time. Read on to know more about the city’s two wheeler taxi service providers
A bike taxi provides regular taxi services to a pillion rider. The concept has existed since the 1980s and was first started in China. In India bike taxis first started operating in Goa and now the service has finally been introduced in Kolkata by Firdous Kalim and Imran Mustafa, co-founder directors of KBike Taxi and Raghav Randar, owner of One Man Taxi.
People do prefer Ola and Uber 4-wheeler cabs for their punctual services but that does take a hit during rush hours. It is due to surge pricing that fares can shoot up three or four times during rush hours and the waiting time for a cab to arrive goes up as well. Moreover, sharing a cab with a stranger in shared rides may not always be feasible.
“We have thought out a healthy business plan and we are not planning to rush anything. Thankfully the government has seen the benefit of the bike taxi service and given us a go ahead for the Newtown Rajarhat area where end to end connectivity is a major issue. Right now our main priority is to serve the best to our customers. Our waiting time is hardly 5 minutes, there’s no concept of a shared ride and the rides are extremely economical and time saving,” explains Imran Mustafa.
Unlike agencies that provide drivers for four-wheelers, there are no two-wheeler rider agencies but that has hardly been a worrying factor for these impressive new startups. KBike targets bike riders who have had experience of working as a delivery agent and before getting a commercial license, the riders are given a month-long-training and only then are they inducted under a fixed monthly salary. One Man Taxi on the other hand, has an agreement with Bajaj who trains the bikers on their behalf. To curb the issue of speeding in bike taxis, acceleration is locked at an average speed level. Moreover, to provide security, the bikes and rider are all insured. The insurance covers the pillion rider as well. “We have taken all measures to ensure the safety and hygiene of our customers. Before every ride, we provide helmets with surgeon masks. To beat the tremendous heat of Kolkata, we are also providing face wipes after every ride to our customers. There’s a panic button in our app which if pressed will directly inform us at the headquarters. We operate only on the service roads and not on the main roads,” said Raghav Randar.
At a time when many bike taxi services are being initiated across India, the state government has given green signal to bike taxis to operate within the NKDA area. A total of 40 bike taxis are operational between 8am and 8pm at Newtown Rajarhat area and the numbers are likely to increase in coming years. The mobile app can be downloaded from the App store of IOS and Google Play Store and additionally a customer can hail a bike taxi from the road.
Debashis Sen, Chairman and Managing Director of WBHIDCO said: “The bike taxi services are fast and affordable and can negotiate traffic congestions better than cars. A lot of people from the IT sector and all over Newtown Rajarhat area are using it and we want such services to come up more.”
For the next monsoon season, bike taxi services have put forward a generous gesture of providing a rain coat with every bike for its commuters. So, if you are in New Town and looking for an economical and fast ride, you know which apps to search for.
Service provider: KBike Taxi and One Man Taxi
Payment option: Cash, PayTm and Mobile Wallets
Fare: Rs 20 minimum for the first 2 km and Rs 5 for every additional kilometer
Cancellation charge: Nil
Area under operation: Currently limited to NKDA area only