With the authorities fighting a losing battle against the increasing traffic snarls, the launch of the Rapido bike taxi service here may provide some relief to commuters stuck for hours daily in traffic jams in the Meghalaya capital.
The bike taxi was launched here today with about 150-odd bike owners registering with the company. “We have registered local boys and girls at this stage,” Suman Acharjee, city head of Rapido, said.
Shillong will be the second city after Guwahati where the Benguluru-based company is launching its app-based service. “We are trying to get the largest number of female bikers or captains from Shillong,” he added.
The Rapido service will cover the city from Laitkor-Elephant Falls (Upper Shillong) to Mawiong in the initial stages. “The charge will be Rs 29 for 4 km and Re 1 for waiting per minute,” he informed.
Under the company’s guidelines, each biker’s credentials will be vetted by the local headmen and other documents like licences will be checked by the company.
Every bike will also keep raincoats in the weather-sensitive State capital, prone to rainfall. Company executives said every aspect of commuter interests would be taken care of.
“Both the commuter and the captain will get an insurance cover of Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively in case of minor injuries. In the case of death, the commuter and the biker will be covered with a Rs 5 lakh insurance,” Acharjee said.
The service will be available from 6 am till 12 am. “The timing and the service area will be increased based on feedback of customers,” Rapido executives said.
At present four female riders have registered with the company. Acharjee said that the bike taxi would provide relief to the commuters in the State capital with its growing traffic problems and narrow roads.
At present there are local taxis and State transport buses. However, the taxi operators at times draw flak for flouting rules and refusing to ferry passengers.
The State buses and maxi cabs with poor maintenance are always cramped and take longer time for communication with several halts.
The launch of the Rapido service will also provide employment to the locals. Many of the bikers who have registered are students looking for part-time job opportunities.
Acharjee said that on an average, a biker can earn Rs 25,000 every month. One of the female bikers who has registered with Rapido is a young mother who has taken up the job in the hope that it will make her financially independent. The other female biker is a student.