The day is nigh. Only two days more. Friends, family, and my team ask me how I feel. Nervous anticipation. Hopeful. Relieved. Fluttering butterflies. A mix and range of emotions. Rider enrollments have steadily been increasing. Passenger registrations that started anaemically have shown a brisk upward inflection. Live field testing has teased out the last of the defects. It is time, literally, for the rubber to meet the road.
When my partner and I started thinking about the sharing economy in the fall of 2015 and how we could participate in it, we explored a number of options including sharing of jewellery, clothing, household appliances, and books. None of these passed the scalability criterion. One idea that held enormous potential was peer to peer automobile insurance. However, given the regulated nature of the industry and the high capital barrier, the idea had to be shelved.
Having seen the meteoric rise of Ola and Uber and the impact they had on transportation,we researched the problems of daily commuters and found that the public bus transportation system in Chennai was woefully under capacity, that the burgeoning traffic conflated with the inadequate road infrastructure caused expected and unexpected snarls, and that first and last mile connectivity continues to be a problem. There are approximately 37 lakh two wheelers in Chennai. I have seen that a majority of these vehicles on the road ply with an empty pillion seat. What if we were to harness technology to match the riders of two wheelers with commuters using public transport or autos? What if we were to exploit the power of the humble pillion seat? How about that!
Thus was Vroom conceived in November 2015, a solution to city commuting that will introduce a new mode of travel for the city commuter — a shared pillion seat. The Vroom Rider app and the Vroom app for passengers are currently available on Google Playstore. On October 2nd, a passenger somewhere in the city will book a Vroom ride and will hopefully experience the joy of two wheeler ride sharing, the relief of not having to squeeze into overcrowded buses, and the realization that commuting in the city can be quick and affordable. On October 2nd, Vroom will redefine city commuting in Chennai. On Gandhi Jayanthi, Vroom will stay true to the Mahatma’s words by being the change that all of us wish to see in the world.