The environment is not a CSR initiative for us, It is our mainstream business concern
In an exclusive interview with BW People, Surajit Das, Co-founder and CEO, Routematic, talks about how corporate car rental space is becoming the need of the industry. He also tell us about their special initiatives and features to enhance the customer experience.
1. Since 2012, how do you define the growth of Routematic in terms of revenue and expansion?
Routematic initially provided wireless hardware tracking devices such as GPS. The rapid growth of smart phones and its applications changed everything. We quickly realised that an IOT solution integrated with Phones will be a winner. In 2013-14, Routematic entered the corporate commute segment as a technology solutions provider for transport management, when we bagged our first client - CISCO, in the corporate sponsored commute segment. We have had a CAGR 50% growth ever since. Today, in less than 5 years, we are present in 35+ client and 8 cities, where over 1,50,000 customers and 60,000 drivers use our apps everyday to manage their commute everyday. 6 months ago, Routematic introduced its own fleet. We are the only technology first corporate fleet operator that is disrupting this business with never before witnessed delivery on performance metrics. We are currently live in Bangalore and Pune in the fleet business and are going to launch services in NCR shortly. We are going to be the largest fleet operator in Pune & Bangalore by December 2018 and will have over 2000 cabs onboarded onto the platform.
2.How has Routematic made its space in the car rental space? What are some of the unique qualities which set Routematic apart from the other existing companies?
Routematic is a technology first corporate fleet aggregator and that makes us unique. As a corporate fleet aggregator, we believe the drivers are our internal customers. This mindset helps us ensure high loyalty and lower attrition. This focus results in a higher degree of predictability and availability of fleet as compared to other fleet operators. Traditional fleet operators also struggle with phone and paper-based processes that make their systems non scalable, inefficient and therefore expensive, while we use technology based automation to better deliver on every performance metrics.
As a technology first company, much like Uber/Ola, we use technology to control the entire fleet deployment. However, we operate in the corporate segment, which requires 100% predictability and availability of a cab at a prescheduled time and a fixed cost. Other aggregation platforms cannot deliver on this metric because of the nature of their operating model. A combination of the two brings best of both worlds together. We provide levels of predictability, availability and affordability that has never been delivered in corporate transportation before.
3.Has the demand for corporate car services risen in the last decade? How and why?
The demand for corporate cars has increased for three main reasons:
-Increase in services sector that operates 24X7
IT/ITES businesses that operate 24X7 provide cab pickup/drop to all employees as a norm. due to a robust growth of CAGR 15% in the sector, the allied sector of corporate transportation has also grown
-Corporates extending transport as an additional employee perk
In the last five years, we have noticed several companies extend office commute services to employees as a perk. As per Routematic’s internal survey, office commute time in Indian Metros has increased by over 40% on an average, from 45 mins to over 60 mins. Therefore, Corporates offering this benefit to employees not only helps in retention, but also ensures higher productivity as employees are less stressed with office commute and enter/exit office on time.
-Corporates extending cab services during the night time for safety reasons
Considering so many cases of violence, especially against women, Corporates extend pick/drop facilities, particularly to female employees during dark hours.
4.Are there any specific safety measures that Routematic has taken its female passengers?
Routematic has several safety features:
1. Call masking feature: The calling feature from the app ensures that the passenger can communicate with the driver without sharing number with the driver. These calls works both ways, so unlike Uber, the employee’s number is never revealed. These calls are also recorded for training and incident management purposes
2. Panic Button: The employee mobile app has a panic button feature, which raises an alarm with the company’s transport desk in case of emergency. Routematic cabs also have a physical panic button in the cabs that the female employee can activate in case of emergency
3. Female passenger cab hot tracking: The corporate transport desk has a desktop interface to coordinate and track employee commute. Female only cabs are tracked separately with additional highlights
4. Safe drop confirmation: All female employees need to ‘checkout’ on the app when they de-board from the cab. If they do not, they receive an automated call to check if they have been dropped safely. The female employees who do not respond to the calls are referred to the transport desk for further action
5. Cab & driver compliance: The Routematic software does not allow cabs/drivers who do not have valid documentation. Routematic drivers undergo multiple background verifications before they are onboarded
6. Driver training: Drivers are specifically trained on etiquettes particularly keeping female passengers in mind during induction
7. AI based safety features: Routematic’s is going to launch facial recognition system for drivers to validate the drivers before executing every trip. Furthermore, Routematic is also going to launch on rash driving feature that will extract data from a driver’s phone to track acceleration, sharp uturns, speed breaker, bumps etc.
5.Tell our readers about the tech-enabled feature of Routematic? How is it user-friendly?
To an employee, a Routematic app look similar to an Uber/Ola, except that the pick/drop location is already fixed to your home and office. You can opt your pick/drop time, give your feedback after every trip and checking/checkout to confirm that you took the trip. The app also tells you the ETA and current location of the cab, helping you plan effectively.
To a driver, a Routematic app tells you which trips are assigned to you, which employees to pick/drop and in what sequence. It also tells you the most optimized route to take. As the employees and the transport desk are informed of your whereabouts at all times, you receive limited calls during the trip. Since your billing is automated, you get paid on time for the trips you undertake, no questions asked! To a transport desk, you can plan the entire employee transport in a single click. Employee rostering, route planning, fleet deployment, commute tracking and billing reconciliations are all done by the system making your life easy. This is safety, compliance, efficiency and cost savings bundled into one solution!
6.Since air pollution is a critical issue these days, private transport is a major contribution to the depleting air quality, have you taken any CSR or environmental initiatives to balance that or are you planning to?
Environment is not a CSR initiative for us. It is our mainstream business concern. That’s why our system locks out cabs whose Pollution certificate has expired. Furthermore, Routematic is a responsible private transporter that sees this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
Firstly, we are pushing corporates to extend corporate sponsored commute to their employee. 4 employees commuting in a cab removes 3 vehicle from the road, that reduces 6 tonnes of C02 emission in a year! This is the best way to reduce a corporate’s carbon footprint.
Secondly, we push corporates to digitize their entire transport process. For every 1000 employees who are transported in corporate sponsored commute, 900 pages are printed/used with employee/route/driver details for log sheets everyday. This is necessary to manage documentation and billing. If the corporate completely digitizes this process, a 1000 employee company will save two trees every month by reducing paper wastage. Furthermore, digital transactions are transparent, easy to audit and the data can be stored forever & extracted for generating analytics to improve transport efficiency
Finally, we have pledged to convert 10% of our fleet to electric vehicles by Dec 2018. Corporates today have CSR targets to reduce corporate footprint, therefore require some percent of their corporate transport to be EV. We are helping them achieving their goals.