HYDERABAD: A startup led by Hyderabadi is bridging the gap between affordable and sustainable commutes. Called MetroRide, their EVs are the solution to ferrying passengers to and from a Metro station in the city, making public and private transport a hassle-free process. CE catches up with the founders of the company which is successfully operational in Hyderabad, Noida, Delhi and Bengaluru, today.
Kaaman Agarwal, CTO and co-founder of MetroRide, reveals that several non-Metro users living within the catchment area of the metro network find the lack of an affordable, accessible, and reliable first and last-mile service a major issue for not using the Metro. To address this very issue, Kaaman and his partner (and former roommate) Girish Nagpal, brainstormed to create MetroRide.
“The Metro Rail is a beautiful and sustainable initiative that most in the city are more than happy to make use of — it’s almost like the biggest electric car. A cab from Uppal to Raidurg would cost you Rs 400 and can’t guarantee you an exact drop time, thanks to the traffic. Imagine being able to cover the same distance within 45 min for Rs 60!
We researched and found what people sought, and set out to provide just that — first and last-mile ride-hailing service that connects you from the metro stations to high-request destinations. We operate through an AI-powered cloudbased application to provide 100 percent green travel solutions to our customers,” Kaaman tells CE.
But why their EVs when the city has a plethora of cab and bike taxis, you ask and he responds, “When we studied reasons to why not many choose the Metro, we figured that the bottleneck was the absence of affordable, predictable and timely rides — but the other players are built for longer rides where drivers have a dead mile to cover.
Hence, our model is just the opposite — our pickup points are within 5 km and commuters were more than willing to walk about 100 metres to reach these points. Thus, leaving no scope for waste of time and even our drivers will benefit from over 50-60 rides per day.” The company launched its electric auto and bike services in Hyderabad in April, along with Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL), L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited (LTMRHL) and with support from WRI India and UK charity Shell Foundation, beginning with the Parade Ground and Raidurg Metro stations.
Kaaman adds that in the coming days they will soon operate at 10 different stations. “We also plan to provide our customers an option to book their end-to-end journey by integrating into our app ticketing of transit services like Metro & other public transport systems,” he adds. MetroRide is not your typical transport company but makes use of a tech platform that controls all of its operations, including identifying fraud rides and revenue leakages.
And finally, they allay EV enthusiasts’ worry over several incidents involving twowheelers bursting into flames since last month. Girish Nagpal, the co-founder and CEO of MetroRide, says, “The onboarding of our vehicles undergo strict quality and standard checks. The problem with such incidents is the pack assembly process not being the most robust . We , however, partnered with some of the best that the country has - Piaggio, Mahindra and a couple of other OEM (original equipment manufacturers).”