This Startup Is Trying To Solve Hyderabad’s Commuting Problem
BloombergQuint hitches a ride on Hyderabad’s Commut shuttle...
Imagine covering a 35-kilometre stretch from home to office every day. It’s Hyderabad, so traffic is erratic and you could take hours to get to work. An Uber or an Ola with surge pricing could cost you nearly Rs 700 for a one-way trip. And as Hyderabad’s population increases, it will only get tougher to get a seat on a local bus.
Hemanth Jonnalagadda, an International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, alumnus faced the same problem: public transport was taking too long and cabs were exorbitantly priced. So, in September 2015, he got together with five of his friends from the same college to set up Commut, a mini bus startup.
Commut offers trips at a third of what a ride-sharing service will cost.
“For a trip from home to an IT hub, it would cost you Rs 99 on the Commut shuttle; the same trip would cost around Rs 300 on UberPool or Ola Share and nearly Rs 700 if you were to book an entire cab for yourself,” said Prasanth Garapati, co-founder and CEO at Commut.
The mini bus aggregator has already raised $200,000 from 50K Ventures. Sudhakar Pasupunuri, co-founder of RedBus, one of the largest online bus ticketing platform, is on Commut’s board.
The founding team concedes that the first six months spent in setting up the venture were the toughest part, considering all the six co-founders had an engineering background and had no idea about the transport space. They needed time to understand the depth of the market. Trial runs helped them figure out how the entire ecosystem works and the existing transport patterns in the city.
Their efforts seem to have paid off, considering that the Commut platform already has 25,000 registered users. “We are doing around 1,500 rides ferrying 1,100 people every day,” said Garapati.
While the company is only looking at routes in Hyderabad for the next six months, the founders are keen on exploring other cities by January next year. But competitors have already emerged: ZipGo in Bangalore, Shuttl in the National Capital Region and Ola Shuttle across the country.
Garapati is unperturbed. The team takes pride in working efficiently, he said.