Connecting modes of public transport essential for successful urban transit system, says Namma Yatri founder

At TechSparks 2023, Namma Yatri founder Vimal Kumar spoke about the auto-booking app's driver-centric focus and why public transportation cannot work in silos.

Connecting modes of public transport essential for successful urban transit system, says Namma Yatri founder

Saturday September 23, 2023,

2 min Read

Vimal Kumar, Juspay founder and the brain behind Bengaluru's popular auto-booking app, Namma Yatri, says connecting various modes of public transportation such as autos, buses, metros, and trams is vital to ensure the success and adoption of an urban transit system.

Speaking on the final day of TechSparks 2023, YourStory's flagship startup-tech event, Kumar said that public transportation cannot work in silos if it wants to attract commuters to adopt it.

To put in context what Kumar means by stitching transportation, imagine a future where, as you leave your office, an auto arrives promptly to pick you up, seamlessly connects you to a waiting metro that departs shortly after you board it, whisking you away to your destination. Upon reaching the drop-off station, another auto is waiting to drop you off home, closing the loop on your entire journey.

"Batching has to happen in public mobility... thankfully, we have open source protocols like BECKN that can make that happen," he said, adding that Namma Yatri is also an open-source platform.

Indeed, the Juspay founder aspires to delve more profoundly into tackling public transportation issues, starting with Bengaluru, and concurrently, endeavours to incorporate electric vehicles into the equation.

Namma Yatri

Namma Yatri founder Vimal Kumar at TechSparks 2023 on Saturday

When asked about which aspects of mobility could benefit from open network protocols, Kumar highlighted the significant challenge posed by maps in India. Acknowledging Google's commendable efforts to build maps, he went on to underscore the necessity for collaborative efforts in developing localised maps.

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Driver-centric focus

Kumar says when the team was building out the Namma Yatri app, according to standards defined by the Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC), there were three things they focussed on: technology, product design, and more importantly, empathy for auto drivers.

Namma Yatri has consistently positioned itself as an app designed by and for auto drivers, and Kumar believes this driver-centric focus will remain a core aspect of its approach.

"We want to give auto drivers dignity in their lives because driver's wellness is important... we take inspiration from Mumbai's dabbawallahs," he added.

Namma Yatri app was launched in November 2022, in partnership with the Beckn Foundation, a Nandan Nilekani-backed non-profit organisation that develops open protocol specifications for mobility and ecommerce platforms. It was downloaded over 50,000 times in its launch week.

Edited by Sohini Mitter