Source : PTI | Ride-hailing app Snap E, which operates EV cabs, is planning to more than double its current fleet by the end of FY’24, and venture into smaller cities, a company official said on Tuesday. The company also plans to induct more women drivers in its workforce, said Mayank Bindal, the managing director of EC Wheels, which operates under the Snap-E brand.
“Besides expanding in the greater Kolkata region, which is our base, we plan to venture into smaller cities such as Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Varanasi, Raipur, Indore, Bhopal, Jaipur and Ahmedabad over the next few years because of the potential of the untapped market,” he told PTI in an interview.
“We also want to provide affordable green vehicles to tourists, and are targeting the Varanasi-Ayodhya-Chitrakoot and Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark-Chilika circuits initially,” he said.
The company plans to increase its fleet strength from 400 at present to 1,000 by the end of this financial year, Bindal said. “We intend to hire more women as drivers to ensure that women passengers are more comfortable in our cabs,” he said, adding that eventually women would constitute 30-35% of the workforce.
Currently, the company has only 10-12 women drivers, he said.
“We are also in the process of setting up an institution, in collaboration with private and government stakeholders, for providing training to drivers in basic servicing of the vehicles and behaviour with customers,” Bindal said.
The company, which completed one year of operations this August, has managed to earn an average monthly revenue of around INR 2.5 crore, he said.
In the next five years, we intend to have around 5,000-7,000 cars across the country, with around 3,500 in Kolkata and the remaining in other smaller cities. With the growth in fleet, we hope to earn a revenue of INR 35 crore per month,” he said.
Bindal said the major challenge the company is facing currently is creating and maintaining physical infrastructure for charging the vehicles. The company has several hubs in northern and southern parts of Kolkata, where the vehicles are parked, cleaned and charged before going out for rides.
“We own the cars to ensure that the vehicles are in good condition, and the drivers are accountable. Our cars are cleaned every day and the condition is monitored regularly. Maintaining the vehicles is also not difficult as we have a good system in place,” he said.
Bindal said that after launching his service with only 15 cars, he operated SnapE cabs on Uber’s platform for a couple of months, but soon realised there was no dearth of demand for ride-hailing apps.
“Our biggest USPs are that we do not have surge pricing even during peak hours and that the condition of our vehicles is good, they are clean and the drivers are courteous,” he said.
“We currently get around 15,000 requests for rides every day for our 400 cabs. At the Kolkata airport, we get 270-300 rides daily, which is around 10% of the total app cab traffic in the airport,” he claimed.