Coronavirus: Car rental startup Revv to transport COVID-19 health workers for free
Self-drive car rental startup Revv has earmarked 1,000 vehicles to transport India's health workers who are fighting the coronavirus battle from the frontlines.
Revv is offering the service free of cost in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, and Chennai, and will launch it in other cities as the demand escalates.
Health workers, who are actively servicing COVID-19 patients, can avail the cars by producing their hospital ID proofs or a letter from their employer at the time of booking. After booking, they can pick up the car from Revv’s delivery hubs.
"In times when healthcare workers continue to fight the pandemic, the paused availability of public transport options has made their commute to hospitals more difficult and potentially even unsafe, and this initiative aims to solve that problem," Revv said in a statement.
For now, healthcare workers can book the cars by calling on +91 9250035555. The booking option will be made available on Revv's app and website shortly.
The Hyundai Motor-backed startup is also partnering with various volunteer groups and organisations engaged in COVID-19 relief across the country.
In Karnataka, it has tied up with The Corona Warriors, a 12,000-strong citizen volunteer group, to facilitate the distribution of cars to healthcare workers they are engaged with. Revv also plans to explore non-commercial B2B partnerships with hospitals and treatment facilities.
In a conversation with YourStory, Revv Founders Anupam Agarwal and Karan Jain said,
"Prior to booking and post-booking, the car interiors and exteriors will be sanitised with alcohol-based solutions, and all hub personnel will be given personal protective equipment (PPE) for their own safety."
"The healthcare system is under severe stress, and lot of workers on ground are stranded. We have to mobilise every single person if we have to deal with the crisis," they added.
Riding through a crisis
The 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by the Indian government from March 24 has literally put the brakes on mobility startups like Revv, Ola, Uber, Bounce, and others.
Revv shares that its car-sharing segment has "completely paused" since social distancing became the new normal. March is typically a slow month due to things like year-end, exams, etc. But after the lockdown, movement is down to almost nothing.
However, nearly 100 percent of pre-lockdown subscriptions are "currently intact".
"Because of the lockdown, the running of these subscribed cars has reduced by 85 percent, but the subscribers continue to retain the cars since they subscribed with a long-term mindset; a 20-day interruption in usage doesn’t affect their long-term decision to be a car subscribers," the founders explained.
The uncertainty in the market triggered by the coronavirus crisis has challenged the best of companies across the world. "No one knows how long this winter will last," say the founders.
But, will the compelling need for social distancing leave a long-term impact on the transportation economy? The founders believe that the car-sharing segment will take "at least a quarter to recover" from this.
"But with consumers likely to defer their car purchases given the current situation, we might see a surge in demand in the subscription segment. That is a great alternative for car buying," they say.
Until then, India's healthcare workers will keep Revv moving!
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)