In the duopoly market of Ola and Uber, what is the biggest challenge faced by a year-old e-cab company? Anmol Jaggi, founder, BluSmart Mobility, talks about it.
When one talks about cab services in India, one immediately thinks of Ola and Uber. The likes of Meru Cabs, Savaari Car Rentals, Tab Cabs and others are far behind Ola and Uber in the top of the mind recall race. In such a (duopoly) market, a new entrant is sure to face challenges.
So, has BluSmart Mobility, a year-old electric cab company, also faced challenges? “Not as much,” says the Gurugram-headquartered brand’s founder Anmol Jaggi.
“More and more people are becoming aware of the carbon footprint that they leave as a result of their activities. Hence, customers are slowly and gradually moving to electric ride-hailing in order to minimise their carbon footprint in every manner possible. We are happy with the response that we’re getting from our customers,” says Jaggi.
BluSmart is currently operational in the Delhi-NCR region and has 320 cabs.
About the market dominance of Ola and Uber, Jaggi says, “Communication is key and so is awareness.” BluSmart is currently running a print campaign titled ‘Be Nature’s Favourite’, and recently did a social media influencer campaign to create awareness about itself.
BluSmart targets the youth of India, especially those who prefer to take a cab to commute to work. “Almost 50 per cent of our commuters (in the pre-COVID period) were working women or the ‘young moms’ segment,” Jaggi says, adding, “They are ladies between the ages of 24 and 35 who prefer taking our cabs to do their office commute, picking/dropping their kids to and from schools, crèches, etc.”
The company is currently planning to expand its fleet to 1,200 more cabs in the next three months.
Having started services in August 2019, BluSmart did not operate when the COVID-induced lockdown began back in March, until May 17, 2020. After the resumption of services (’Unlock 1’), the brand recorded 80 per cent increase in the number of commuters as compared to pre-COVID times, reveals Jaggi.
“Initially, after the resumption of services, we saw very less uptake, as people were still grappling with the Coronavirus and preferred to stay indoors due to the fear of getting infected, be it office goers or school children. However, we were very particular about our safety and hygiene measures, and saw a slow, but steady incline in the number of commuters after ’Unlock 1’. We are seeing a much better response in terms of people relying on our cabs for a safe and secure commute,” he added.
Jaggi believes that COVID has made people realise the impact they have had on mother nature. “It’s about time we reduce the overall impact that we have on the environment and make the world a cleaner, greener place to thrive.“
“COVID was, indeed, a challenge initially, but not anymore, as more and more people are using our safe sanitised mode of shared mobility. The initial challenge of bringing customers on board was already mitigated, owing to the uptake of ride hailing over other modes of city travel,” Jaggi added.
He states that the brand is seeing a growth in its daily rides. “People are appreciating our safety and hygiene measures that we take very seriously. We are slowly overcoming the challenge of establishing ourselves in the shared mobility segments. Our cabs, being 100 per cent electric, give us an advantage of providing minimal rate for a ride to our customers.”
BluSmart’s cab rates are as low as Rs 99, with hourly rentals and multiple trips starting at Rs 199. The company has no hidden and surge charges, unlike other players, claims Jaggi. It provides a flat charge and zero cancellation rides. “We provide a premium service to our customers and, hence, our cab charges are a notch above other players.”
Speaking about COVID scare among consumers, Jaggi mentions that people are certainly more concerned about their safety, hygiene and the sanitisation of the cabs they travel in. So, the company is giving utmost importance to safety and hygiene by taking all necessary precautions.
BluSmart claims that none of its cabs go to containment zones, and has equipped its charging hubs with sanitisation infrastructure where all cabs are thoroughly sanitised the moment they come for charging. Each cab is sanitised more than 3-4 times daily.
“We also follow safety protocols for our drivers. They wear masks all the time. We show the driver's temperature and last sanitised time to our customers on our BluSmart app, which got a 5-star rating on Google Play and 4.8 on Apple’s App Store recently,” Jaggi signs off.