Shuttle bus service startup ZipGo on Thursday launched a membership-based exclusive bus service for women in Delhi-NCR. The service is currently piloted in pockets of Delhi like Gurgaon, Dwarka, and Manesar. The company plans to extend the pilot to Noida and Greater Noida in December.
Jitender Sharma, Co-founder, ZipGo, says that this is possibly the first truly women-only bus service. As an introductory offer, the team is offering free rides worth Rs 100 for new users and referral amounts of Rs 250 for every successful referral. There also is 50 percent bonus offered for those who choose to recharge using the Paytm wallet.
Jitender says the reason behind this move was in tune with the company's mission to help reduce the usage of personal vehicles by providing comfortable and reliable mass transport facility for daily commute. As women contribute to a large segment of the commuter population in Delhi, he adds that this service was started to provide them convenience and comfort.
“The buses are clean and air-conditioned. Booking and tracking are quite easy. But the biggest value proposition is the peace of mind, comfort and relaxation that comes from knowing that all your co-passengers are women,” says Jitender.
According to him, while the taxi market addressed one portion of the market, a large portion of the daily commuters’ woes was still not solved.
Following an aggregator model, the ZipGo team meets the vendors, explains the system to them and on-boards the drivers. Jitender says that looking at the way the taxi cab business has flourished with the use of technology, the bus services are open to this idea.
Since ZipGo follows an aggregator model, the company is particular about the quality and personality of the driver. Apart from basic checks of background, documentation and police verification, the work histories of the drivers are monitored followed by a five-step verification and interview process.
The drivers are trained on etiquette and behaviour, as well. “We also have a zero-tolerance policy to even the slightest indication of misbehaviour,” says Jitender.
According to experts, the emerging bus service market is going to be larger than the taxi market, which is estimated at Rs 60,000 crore. In the past few months, many players sensing the growth have entered the segment.
Ola, which is one of the most formidable cab aggregators in the country, is said to be preparing to invest Rs 120-150 crore to launch bus services. With several players, the fledgling segment is going to be more vibrant and mature in the coming days.
However, there are several government policies in the way that act as roadblocks in the progress of these startups. ZipGo, which had initially begun its operations in Bengaluru, had a rather rough patch in the city owing to the policies and regulations.
With women-specific shuttle service, ZipGo may taste some success, however, women-only focused cab services like G cabs, Priyadarshini taxis and Viira cabs have been operational for the past few years but they struggled to scale up.
Ola was also slated to launch a ‘by women, for women’ line of taxis, but after the rape incident in Uber last year, Ola appears to have kept this plan on the backburner. Most recently, Oyo launched a new brand called Oyo WE, for women travelers with an all-women staff.
(Inputs by Jaivardhan)