EMBARQ India, RMC and Nirmal Foundation partner in delivering fleet auto-rickshaw services in Rajkot
14th May 2012, Rajkot: EMBARQ India facilitated and formalised a key a partnership with the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) and G-Auto (Nirmal Foundation) to implement fleet auto-rickshaw services in the city of Rajkot.
Fleet organisation is an approach that involves providing auto-rickshaw services under an organised and unified brand name and image. Rajkot’s unorganised auto-rickshaw sector currently has 12,000 auto-rickshaws providing contract carriage services provided by individual operators. Fleet organisation in the auto-rickshaw sector in Rajkot would address key challenges like poor public perception, informal fares, lack of employment benefits to drivers, and operational inefficiencies like empty trips ad lack of regular maintenance of the vehicles. A distinct brand image would improve public perception, and the quality of service offered.
Nirmal Kumar, the founder of G-Auto, was recently shortlisted for the SMART Mobility Enterprize (“MobiPrize”) award conceived and developed by the University of Michigan’s SMART initiative. G-Auto has, since 2009, run successful fleet auto-rickshaw services in Ahmedabad, Baroda and Gandhi Nagar with over 10,000 rickshaw drivers. Starting off small as a social project under the Nirmal Foundation, Nirmal sold the G-Auto idea to 1,000 drivers in Ahmedabad and gradually got several more on board.
Owing to its experience in the sector, G-Auto was selected by RMC, with support from EMBARQ India, as a strategic partner to implement fleet auto-rickshaw services in Rajkot following an invitation for proposals (IOP) from prospective bidders in November 2011. Since then, the three agencies have worked on formalising specific roles and responsibilities for each party towards implement fleet services in Rajkot.
While G-Auto will be responsible for implementing the project, and setting up operational systems for the same, RMC is committed to providing seed funding, infrastructural support, and stakeholder management for the duration of the project. EMBARQ India will continue to support RMC, offering technical advice and expertise on all aspects relating to improving the quality of fleet auto-rickshaw services, including monitoring and evaluating the project on an on-going basis.
The services are slated to be officially launched in June 2012 with a pilot fleet, and will scale up over the next few months, connecting passengers to rickshaw drivers, offering honest, safe and reliable auto-rickshaw services to the people of Rajkot.