The daily struggle to office in the blazing sun is a common scenario in every middle class person’s life. To add to this, the taxis never agree to take to you to the desired location. Prakash Sikaria and NV Subramanian, the founders of Sharedcab, were one of those people. “We wanted to bring forth a unique service that could, if not solve the problem, at least make the daily travel more comfortable,” says 31 year-old Sikaria.
Sharedcab, which started operations in October this year, assures people a dependable service from their home to their desired location. Three people share the cab and all passengers pay the fare independently. “We decide the passengers depending on the destination. In terms of a weekly cab rental, we charge Rs 8 per kilometre and in terms of a monthly basis, we charge Rs 7.5 per kilometre,” explains 34 year-old Subramanian, who has an engineering degree from BITS Pilani and an MBA from IIM Lucknow.
Sikaria, who graduated from IIT-Kanpur in 2004, met Subramanian at Samara, a private equity firm, three years ago. They realised that they both wanted to start a service that could solve the most recurrent problem in every Mumbaiite’s life — public transport. “In July this year, we both sat down with a list of problems that were faced by the average middle class person in the city. After much discussion, we listed close to 50 problems, of which public transport and traffic were the main concerns of every person in Mumbai,” reveals Subramanian.
Keeping that in mind, the duo came up with a list of services to make this plan a success. “We divided Mumbai into two zones, one that is known as the residential hub which includes places from Jogeshwari to Borivli. The other was the work hub, which included places from Andheri to Churchgate. We then planned our taxi service accordingly and provided services at these locations,” says Sikaria.
Though this service aims to reduce the frequent transport worries of people, it isn’t perfect yet. It is based on fixed drop timings — between 6 pm and 8 pm. You can’t use the cab if you have flexible work timings. Subramanian says this was a conscious decision. “We are aware that not all Mumbaikars have fixed 9 to 5 jobs. We are working towards improving the service, but for now, we will stick to fixed timings as we cater to that particular target audience.”
So what are their plans for the future? “We would love to introduce women-only Sharedcab services for women who travel at odd hours and also provide a flexi-sharing facility which could make way for an additional fourth passenger inside the cabs,” Sikaria adds excitedly.