Radio Tuk Tuk: Auto Rickshaw on call in Gurgaon

Lack of public transportation system in India’s Millennium City – Gurgaon, has been a major challenge for Gurgaon dwellers. Radio Tuk Tuk is servicing this need by offering 24X7 dial-an-auto service to the public.

Started in November 2010, start-up currently owns a fleet of 100 hi-tech tuks tuks fitted with GPS, panic button, mobile charger and auto fire cut-off system.


Q&A with Mr. Sulabh Mehra, Founder of Radio Tuk Tuk

Q: What made you venture into this business?

A: Idea came out of a casual discussion with friends, on what are the key challenges being faced by people in Gurgaon.  Lack of organized local transport was one of them. This was followed by some research at my end and guidance from my elder brother on starting up.

Q: How does the service work?

A: It works like, any other dial-a-cab service. Customer calls our call center and get information about pickup time, venue, contact details and destination. Autos in vicinity of passenger are contacted to check their availability via GPS and phone.  Once request is accepted by one of the auto rickshaw, customer is informed about the details of auto rickshaw (vehicle no, driver contact etc.) coming to service them.  Simultaneously, contact details and pickup time for the booking are communicated to driver by SMS.

We advise customers to call 45 minutes in advance to the time when service is required. Going forward, we want to cut this time to 15 minutes. Vacant auto rickshaw plying on the road can also be contacted by customers directly.

Q: How much does the service costs?

A: We charge 50 Rs for first three Kilometers. After initial 3 kilometers, charges are Rs. 8 per Km. This is competitive compared to other mode of conveyance available.

Q: How are you different from traditional auto rickshaws?

Key difference is that we are organized.

Q: How do you ensure customer is secure and gets promised service?

A: We make sure that details of passengers are listed with us, even if tuk tuk driver picks up passenger directly from road (without involvement of call center).  Also, tuk tuks are monitored by GPS. Our hot line numbers are printed on tuk tuk, which customer can use in case they are unhappy from service or there any deviations from the promised service.

Q: What is the business model?

A: Radio tuk tuk owns the vehicles. Driver pays a subscription fee to the company in lieu of vehicle and leads / business generated.

Q: How large is current fleet and operation.

A: We have 100 auto rickshaws right now. On an average we get 1,000 calls every day, out of which we are able to service 700-800 calls.

Q: What have been the key challenges so far in your start-up journey?

A: Major challenge has been changing mindset of auto drivers – they don’t understand “respect for customers”.  Some of them are convinced with our culture and others leave. We have attrition rate of around 50% among drivers.

We have been gradually training our auto drivers. I personally spend time every week with them understanding what sort of challenges they have faced with the customers and how they reacted to these situations.

Q: What are the future plans?

A: We want to expand to 500 tuk tuks in Gurgaon in next 2 years. Commuters should be able to spot a radio tuk tuk on road every 2 minutes.

We also plan to expand in other parts of India going forward.

Q: Q: How did you fund the venture?

A: So far, we have been dependent on our own funds. Currently, we are looking at funding of around 4-5 Cr to fuel future growth.

If you are Gurgaon based, do give TukTuk a call and share your review.

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