As India’s population significantly rises, pressure on the government and private players to provide a safer, greener alternative to transportation has been a source of the big dilemma. However, Bengaluru based Yulu Bikes is keen bridging this gap for its tech-savvy clientele.
In an exclusive conversation with NewsCaravan, Yulu Bikes CEO Amit Gupta spoke about how his organization is sparking a greener change while it attempts to find it’s a niche in the sector of affordable transportation.
Q) Yulu bikes have been touted as a green alternative to public transport. Can you tell us how a commuter can avail your services?
YULU’s vision is to provide a shared, smart, and sustainable Public Bike Sharing (PBS) system to drastically reduce congestion, pollution, and enhance economic productivity. We are committed to creating liable cities of tomorrow through our “Green Mobility solution”.
It is very easy to find us in your google and apple store. All you have to do is search for Yulu Bikes in your search panel, download the app, find a nearby Yulu station, scan the Yulu bike and you are good to go.
We provide seamless connectivity with public transport hubs; such as Railway Stations, Bus Rapid Transit Systems, Metro Stations, etc. to solve the first and last-mile commute problem, and currently we are operational at Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Pune, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai.
Q) With India unlocking itself, how are Yulu Bikes planning on bridging the gap for commuters who are looking for safer travelling alternatives?
Yulu is going through a V-shaped recovery. We see a 50% growth in using e-bikes after the difficult times of corona. The utilization growth will be seen more once the economy settles down but as of now, it is just 65%.
Previously, Yulu was mostly used for the first mile to last mile distance i.e office to home and home to the office. But in recent times, Yulu is seen used to travel for grocery shopping, nearby places, etc.
A lot of tech support IT guys and housekeeping people started using YULU as well in the Pre-Covid levels and there we had a 50% of our recovery rate.
Coming to the safety measure, Yulu bikes are regularly sanitized with WHO-approved sanitizers twice a day.
Q) With public transport having considerably reduced its share of commuters due to the pandemic, has Yulu Bikes made any change in its strategy to capture the market?
Yulu is the only leading micro-mobility player in India. We support solo ridership and with a pandemic, YULU is doing a tremendous job for the people out there.
We are utilizing our manpower and fleet of e- vehicles- Miracle, to fulfil the delivery of essential needs arising in the pandemic situation.
As thousands of people using Yulu every day, we are intending of doing our best to ensure that each vehicle is sanitized and clean.
Yulu is transparent to its customers, with the new feature development in the app, now you can check when was the vehicle last sanitized and raise an issue with any trouble.
Q) Centre & several state governments have for a long point in time spoken in favour of clean energy & with Yulu aiming to overhaul travel the sector through a greener alternative, how do you think the administration can help initiatives such as yours, especially amidst such testing times?
In cities like Bengaluru, YULU has grown to become a movement because it is solving the complex problem of First and Last Mile connectivity while also helping alleviate the challenges of congestion and pollution.
YULU’s vision is to provide shared, smart and sustainable urban e-mobility the solution which is seamlessly integrated with public transport with an objective to drastically reduce congestion and pollution and improve economic productivity.
YULU is a platform to provide “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) and our partnerships with UBER, Bajaj, Delhi & Bangalore Metro are a testimony to our commitment for seamless integration with various modes of transport for the end-to-end mobility solution.
Yulu actively engages with various stakeholders including city, state, and central governments to propose and facilitate the public policy formulation towards shared and sustainable mobility such as Public Bike Sharing (PBS) and Electric Mobility.
These policies have to lead to the creation of NMT (Non-Motorized Transport) and vehicle charging infrastructure.
Yulu strives to be a thought and act leader to promote shared & sustainable urban mobility as MaaS provider.Amit Gupta, CEO, Yulu
Q) Is Yulu Bikes planning on expanding its services to Tier-2 Indian cities or will it consolidate its hold in the 6 cities it is already functioning in?
Our goal is to run Yulu service in all Tier 1 and the rest of the Smart cities in India. We expect to be the largest micro-mobility player in India and have 1 Million shared electric 2 wheelers by 2022. We will also explore launching this service outside of India by forming strategic partnerships.
Q) Bajaj Group has invested in Yulu, how has the company benefited from this partnership?
Succeeding in the shared micro-mobility business is incumbent upon creating winning partnerships to ensure an assured supply of high-quality electric vehicles in large numbers.
Bajaj Auto Ltd is the leading automaker of India and is respected globally for its quality and manufacturing capabilities at scale.
Yulu is the leading electric micro-mobility service provider that requires reliable, durable, and comfortable electric vehicles to serve its customers, hence a committed manufacturing partner is crucial to our success.
In Bajaj, Yulu finds this strategic partnership and it is a win-win relationship. Yulu’s electric two-wheelers will help Indian commuters with the first and the last mile connectivity option. This partnership aims to solve the mobility challenges of urban India in an eco-friendly manner.
Q) Several rival companies are seeking to gain a foothold in the sector of the rental e-bike, how does Yulu aim to maintain the edge over its rivals?
Yes, we have competitors. We are different from them since we provide a scalable, affordable, and green solution for the first and last mile and short distance commute.
We are focusing to create sustainable mobility for urban India with our lithium battery-powered scooter. Yulu’s electric vehicles are environmentally better and cheaper. We want to solve traffic congestion and air quality around the cities.
Q) The biggest challenge electric scooters face is the constant charging, has Yulu Bikes devised of any strategy to combat this to ensure a hassle-free ride for a commuter?
We have already mastered the art of making a platform for Smart vehicles through the use of IoT and GPRS technology and we will deep dive further in using ML/AI for better demand and supply prediction along with focusing on a lot of hardware innovation.
Yulu has solved the chicken & egg problem faced by the Electric Vehicle ecosystem in India, where the lack of charging infrastructure influences the advent of EVs, and vice versa.
The same app shows the set of vehicles that have a battery-charge the level below a defined threshold along with their real-time location. This the method is low cost and highly scalable.
Yulu has created a unique battery-swapping network by placing its proprietary IoT enabled charging box (Yulu Max) at hundreds of mom-n-pop stores across its operational areas.
Yulu’s on-ground Operations team can locate the nearest Yulu Max which has charged batteries using a dedicated app for the Operations team.
Q. What do you think the future of the public transport sector in the post Covid era?
These are unprecedented and challenging times for businesses throughout the world. We have to fight back and support in every way to get this situation resolved at the earliest.
According to our survey which we undertook as the unlock started to happen, it is interesting to note that there is a surge in the demand for solo and sanitized mobility solutions.
We are witnessing a V shape recovery with 1.6X growth in the percentage of new users and a 50% increase in the distance, as well as usage timeAmit Gupta
Although a lot of behavioural changes were noted as the aftereffect of the global pandemic, people would still prefer to ride solo and the survey data reflects a staggering 76.2% of people are willing to pay an extra fee for their safety but YULU is not charging any extra fees at the moment.
Looking at the survey results, 22% of the users preferred to avail the long-term services and not share their vehicles to be extra safe and protected. Yulu has introduced long term renting services as a feature which lets the users rent the vehicle for a flexible period up to 60 days.
The long term rental model enables the users to request a doorstep delivery and battery swap or to pick up any vehicle from the nearest Yulu Zones.
Safety from Coronavirus remains the topmost priority for everyone who is commuting. Yulu’s topmost priority and we are following a tech-enabled sanitization process where our vehicles are sanitized several times in a day through a WHO-recommended sanitizer and the last sanitized timestamp is shown to our users on the app.