Pune auto driver’s son to launch autorickshaw app to take on Ola, Uber

Rahul Shitole sitting in autorickshaw of his father Rajendra Shitole, who inspired him to launch the autorickshaw app.

Rahul Shitole sitting in autorickshaw of his father Rajendra Shitole, who inspired him to launch the autorickshaw app CityGlide Auto.

Sumit Singh
Pune, October 22, 2019: The son of an autorickshaw driver has joined hands with Pune city police traffic branch to launch an app which works on the motto “By AUTO DRIVER for AUTO DRIVERs”. The app will be launched in the first week of November. There are about one lakh autorickshaws which include about 70,000 in Pune and 30,000 in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

They will also launch a smart prepaid system at Pune railway station soon and later at Sangamwadi bus stand, Swargate and Shivajinagar railway station. The work of constructing kiosk is going on at the railway station.

Rahul Shitole (25), an engineer, got the idea from his father Rajendra Shitole, an Autorickshaw driver, who wanted some sort of system that will make a difference in both Autorickshaw drivers’ earning and LAST MILE CUSTOMER.
“The best mode of public transport is autorickshaw but people think that autodriver will charge extra, he refuses to ply short distance. I agree with these issues but no one tries to understand why autodriver does so? Our app is intended to solve these problems”, informed Rahul.

His co-operative mission startup Benchmark InfraSolutions LLP will be operating in many segments.

OFFLINE: Customer will sit in the Autorickshaw, Driver will put destination & Customer’s mobile number in his APP, the customer then will get an SMS containing all the details of DRIVER (NAME, MOBILE NO, AUTORICKSHAW NUMBER), Map Navigation link.

Prepaid: This system will be started at Pune Railway Station, Swargate, Shivajinagar and Sangamvadi. This is going to be first of its kind system in India. Booth designs are going to have 100% automation for autorickshaw booking. Autorickshaws will be maintained in a virtual queue by Geofencing and fares will be as per meter. There will be automated machines at the kiosks.

Call Based: People can simply call on 98591 98591 and the company executive can book autorickshaw for them.

WhatsApp booking: Customer can send location and autorickshaw will be booked for them.

App-based: People can also book rickshaw by using a mobile phone application ‘CityGlide Auto’ which has been developed by Benchmark InfraSolutions LLP. People will be able to make payments through debit card, credit card, net banking as well as 17+ wallets & UPI.

“The app is completely developed in Pune. We have our in house development team for the development of the system. This app is completely different from those of other companies because we will be spending approximately 40% of our REVENUE on autorickshaw drivers. We are offering 25-30 % discount on annual insurance. If a driver does 4500 rides a year we will bear THIRD PARTY INSURANCE of his rickshaw”, Rahul further informed.

What about the safety and security of passengers?

For the safety and security of passengers, the autorickshaw will be tracked real-time by the company. Also, the Pune traffic police will be able to monitor the autorickshaw and they will get information about traffic updates on a particular route from the movement of the autorickshaw. The police trust will also get Rs 1.5 per trip for the welfare of police personnel and their families.
DCP (traffic) Pankaj Deshmukh said that police verification of all autorickshaw drivers will be done and it will be ensured that they are in uniform and have proper licences (batch). There will be a toll-free number so that citizens can complain if there is an issue.

A pilot project was done before launch

Between September 2018 and February 2019, there was a pilot project with 3500 autorickshaws and they served about 10,000 users (people). And now the full-fledged system will be launched in November 2019. The company will charge Rs 10 service charge per trip and then the customer will pay as per meter rate (approved by the government).

Rejected Europe offer to serve people 

Rahul completed engineering from JSPM NTC College, Narhe, Pune, and worked with Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd for two years. He is also researching on Clean Energy Fuel (Hydrogen Fuel Cell) and has published Research Book in Germany.

When asked if he did not consider going abroad for better opportunities, Rahul said, “Actually I had an opportunity from Europe but my father wanted me to do something here in India. Also few incidents (with autorickshaw drivers) I have faced at the railway station which pushed me to work on this initiative. To be honest this could not have been possible without support from my father and investors.”

 

Design of kiosk to be set up Pune station, Sangamwadi bus stand, Sawargate and Shivajinagar, where people can book autorickshaw.
Design of kiosk to be set up Pune station, Sangamwadi bus stand, Sawargate and Shivajinagar, where people can book autorickshaw.