Solving the Auto-Rickshaw Problem in Mumbai

Categories thoughts

I travel, almost everyday in an Auto-Rickshaw which is somewhat similar to the fate of 11 million travelers in the Financial Capital of India. Everyone wants growth, Ceo’s driving porsche or the man by the street selling ‘Vada Pavs’. The million dollar question is “HOW?

Growth, Scalability, Feasibility and terms as such fit well on the Presentations of a Million Dollar company, but what about Auto-Rickshaw? If your running a startup for an instance, you’ve got plans, marketing strategies, capital (somewhat), few employees or a team, education for backup purposes, etcetera.

Now push that into the bin and envisage yourself to be one amongst  those 100,000 Rickshaw drivers and you want growth. You want your life to be success than more of a struggle. What are you going to do? How? There are 99,999 more people like you giving you competition so if you don’t take a passenger surely someone else will? How will you break through this situation?

The answer in Seth Godin’s word is “BE REMARKABLE”.

You need a reason why people must remember you, why they should reward you, why they like your company, why they like your services. They want something UNIQUE, and now are you able to fulfill their demand?  Well, thats the only way you can get through this.

  1. The Techy Rickshaw – My mom told me of a ride, while she was dropping my brother to his classes of a Techi Auto Rickshaw driver who had installed a television set, radio, stock market index, and all the things one would imagine in a hefty priced car. You don’t get to see such thing in Cabs! Fancy, Auto RickShaws! But the driver did something remarkable and it got him a post on a blog. Imagine, Auto Driver and Tech Blogs? Woah. And yes, the commentators seemed curious to have a ride around the town on the hot engine!
  2. The Winner – The best way to get onto someone’s head is SYMPATHY. My brain had been bruised at school, and tension took a new troll. I had no one to chat with except the auto driver who dropped my to my house. As soon as I took a seat, he looked at me and asked, “Sab Theek Hai Beta?” (Hindi – English : Is everything alright?). What amazed me was that not my friends had asked this and a stranger seemed worried about me. It took him 5 minutes to drop me to my house and to win my sympathy. I Ended up paying him 1/2 amount more just because I thought he deserved it. See, few words make a huge difference.
  3. The Strategist – I guess this is an aberrating one, but it surely deserves a mention. In Mumbai, the worse problem is “No Rickshaw”. Though the rule states, an auto driver cannot deny a passenger but the driver matches it to his comfort, to find a ride. The Strategist could be around you. Waiting and observing you ask few Rickshaw drivers who happily slam a No on your face and then finally making a superstar entry and saving the passenger. Obviously, you know whats going on the passengers mind! “Thanks Bhaisaab” (Hindi-English: Thanks) is what most would say and there you do, a reward for being different and kind goes to the driver!
  4. The Smartest – This one applies to the cabs but I am sure it can be the same for Auto-Rickshaws too. But before you need to see this.
    Image Credits :

    Expected? Not at all! Obviously, out of those thousands of black coloured cabs, I would crave for this crab! Design makes a difference, a hell lot.

  5. The Planner – Drivers look for longer rides, as it promises larger wages compared to the smaller rides. Out of Serendipity, the driver finds 6 of 7 the longer rides. It only works till your lucky. Now it’s time for some math.For Instance, the shorter rides.
    5 Hours is the total ride time. He serves 16 Passengers. Rs. 50 Earned per passenger which totals to Rs. 800.
    Now, the longer ones.
    5 Hours total time. 7 Rides. He earns Rs. 130 per passenger which totals to Rs 910. Fancy Enough? Now many would wonder why a difference of Rs. 110? Its quite simple. When the driver takes shorter rides, time in wasted in searching for new rides, fuel wasted, energy wasted and everytime a new passenger means new directions and new areas.This probably means, you’ve got to look at long term basis and make calculations to support your logic and execute your plan. If I would be the Rickshaw driver I would probably not look for passengers near School as Children tend to have houses near and those who don’t travel by school buses, but party halls as people seldom travel far and those who do, don’t mind spending much on travel few times.
  6. Using the unused – How can you promote an auto rickshaw? Post an Ad in newspaper or broadcast them T.V Channels? You probably don’t have that budget and plus, it’s almost useless for something like this. The What? Here’s an idea, from the mind of Samson. His idea? He used the web to promote his Ride. He posted a video on youtube about his services, how he would treat you, benefits of riding in his rickshaw and he was Original and Natural. Those videos, his website and his ideas brought him glory with Tourists from as far as San Francisco dying to book a ride! Sounds cool? Sometimes we tend to over look whats in front of us and use it, even though its free!
    TukTastic Ride

What’s your takeaway? Think like others don’t.


  • Parth J Dave
    August 1, 2010

    What an innovative and fun post, Monik! Though your post deals only with rickshawallah’s and taxi drivers, am sure these guidelines would be helpful to everyone!

    Thanks for this ‘hatke’ post, buddy and keep it up!

  • Tweets that mention Solving the Auto-Rickshaw Problem in Mumbai | Monik —
    August 1, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Monik Pamecha, Manav Dhiman. Manav Dhiman said: RT @monikkinom: Ever wondered how would an Auto-Rickshaw driver aspiring to be successful, become a billionaire? […]

  • Partha Srinivasan
    August 1, 2010

    no retweet button?

    • Monik
      August 1, 2010

      Noopd.. u can tweet this – Ever wondered how would an Auto-Rickshaw driver aspiring to be successful, become a billionaire?

  • ankitml
    August 1, 2010

    Absolutely brilliant post, plus a very good observation.

    I really liked the youtube wala auto-guy. 🙂

    I would say they all created a “wow” moment for the customers.

  • Pa Lamers
    August 2, 2010

    My brother and I had been just debating this very topic, he is constantly endeavouring to prove me incorrect. Your current view on this is perfect and exactly how I truly feel. I just now e-mailed my brother this page to demonstrate him your view. Right after looking over your web site I book-marked and will be coming back to read your updates!

  • Akhila.n
    November 10, 2016


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