Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Ola are now trying to discover new ways of transport. In their discovery, Auto-rickshaws and e-rickshaws have become their latest find. These companies are in search of transportation modes that is cheap for the customer and is readily available. Auto-rickshaws are a ubiquitous and affordable form of transportation in India. Auto-rickshaws have been around in India for more than two decades. They make their way easily on crowded roads and is an inexpensive form of transport. Though finding an auto rickshaw is easy, getting one to agree on destination and fare is a challenge in itself.

Jugnoo, An auto-rickshaw aggregator, is trying to solve this problem with “Jugaad approach”. While competitors like Ola and Uber are spending heavily on “adoption”, Jugnoo is strategically acquiring the market keeping a lot of money in pockets.

Ola and Uber are continuously trying to capture more cities. Jugnoo can outperform the competition by capturing the untapped markets using low-cost marketing. One of the biggest challenges is to establish offices in different locations to liaise with driver community. Jugnoo, however, can use few approaches to counter this problem.

  1. Establishing Ad-hoc Offices: Every city has one or more drivers associations, Jugnoo can coordinate with these associations to schedule a “driver sign-up week” where Jugnoo can install canopies or ad-hoc office for on-boarding drivers. Key members from association can be designated as ambassadors who can help drivers in communicating with Jugnoo.
  2. Collaboration with India Post: As major cities are being covered, ride-hailing apps are trying to expand their network to smaller locations. Jugnoo might be willing to tap community in villages and towns. When it comes to reach, India Post is the biggest player. Even the small villages and towns have post offices. Jugnoo can collaborate with India Post to on-board drivers via a simple form.

Above two methods are useful for Jugnoo to cut down the operations cost significantly. Besides Operations, Jugnoo should also consider lowering down the fares because in the end users compare the cost of the commute from point A to B. Being a hot Country, People in India would prefer AC cabs if there isn’t much difference between fares of Cab and Auto. Jugnoo, However, can employ some tactics to lower down the cost per ride:

  1. Ride-sharing: Ola Share and UberPool reduce the cost per ride up to 50%. This is direct benefit to end user. While there are some privacy concerns with Ride-sharing, Cost saving are enormous. Jugnoo can implement the same strategy to benefit the end user(and reducing the privacy concerns by choosing an option to set co-passenger preference).
  2. Discovering new modes of transport: Why only Autos? Why only Passengers? Can we use it for low-cost logistics? E-rickshaws, Tractors, Vikrams, Tuk-tuk, Chakkra, Tanga etc. There is lot more to public transportation that companies need to explore. These other transportation modes can be much cheaper and efficient.
  3. Going Home?: Drivers going towards their home location can agree to a fare which is upto 30% lower. Check how much companies can save by employing this strategy.
  4. Fixing Fares: It is a common problem that driver takes a poor route to increase the trip fare. For some hot locations, Jugnoo can experiment by fixing fares from Point A to B e.g. A drop from New Delhi Railway station to Old Delhi railway station @100Rs.
  5. Daily Commute: People tend to use Autos for going to office. Fixing the daily trip from point A to B at a specific time can be done at a discounted price if there is a minimum commitment from user.
  6. Stopping Fraud: Like Ola and Uber, Jugnoo gives discount to first time users. While chances are few, Tech savvy people can create multiple account to get free rides. How? Checkout my post here. Employing the countermeasures, Jugnoo can reduce fraud and lower down the damages.

The above strategies can be combined together which could work magic for both Jugnoo and end users. Money saved can be used to offer more discounts or can be spent in marketing. I hope Jugnoo would employ some of these strategies to growth hack their business.

Disclosure: I was recently interviewed with Jugnoo for position of Product Manager. The first part of this post deals with questions that i was asked during the interview.