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How Corporate Transportation Is Picking Up Speed In India

02/03/2017 2:29 PM IST | Updated 03/03/2017 8:47 AM IST
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The corporate employee transportation ecosystem is truly booming in India. This is due to the erratic public transportation system, riddled with lack of infrastructure and a dubious record of passenger safety, whether its buses, autos, metro or even the cabs controlled by aggregators. As urban cities and towns grow and bustle, long commutes are becoming more and more commonplace, and the need for safety and comfort is higher.

Safe transportation for women is a major concern across contexts, but working women are put in a vulnerable position more frequently—leaving late from office at night or out of the airport and railways stations. Newspapers often report women getting sexually assaulted or robbed while they are travelling in a cab or driving their own vehicle. Drivers of autorickshaws and cabs (whether of taxis or working for app-based aggregators often misbehave with women passengers or abuse them. The absence of safe public transportation facilities and the lack of last mile connectivity in many places are restricting the mobility of women. Women are often asked by friends and family to keep GPS on their phones on while travelling in a cab or auto or click a picture of the driver's ID proof.

Employee transportation solutions are not only cheap and safe, but are also less polluting as they facilitate the transportation of a large number of passengers.

Such incidents have triggered the growth of employee transportation solutions—not only they are cheap and safe, but are also less polluting as they facilitate the transportation of a large number of passengers. The segment comprised 10% of the entire industry share in 2015 and is growing fast since then. Companies are realising that employee productivity is directly related to their sense of wellbeing and security, and they are trying their level best to provide better transportation facilities towards that end.

Similarly spot rental services aimed at mid to top management level users in corporates add value in terms of reliability, safety and comfort, while also being competitively priced vis-à-vis cabs.

Corporate employee transportation is complex in terms of operation and requirements. For example a mid-size company will typically have a staff of 2000 to 2500 employees residing across the city and its outskirts. Facility managers need to ensure that all employees are provided pick up and drop as per their time and shift schedule with minimum travel time. The number of vehicles and routing largely depends on shifts in the company. Additionally, the SLA with the service provider is paramount as all legal, logistic and statutory related issues must be supervised, addressed and monitored.

Concerns exist around aligning the vehicles to shifts, keeping a tab on the number of vehicles deployed, bringing down the number of routes by syncing with the existing routes, employee security, lowering of traveling time, updating the roster etc.

Technology has also evolved to ease out the concerns mostly associated with corporate employee transportation, such as auto routing software, showing the shortest possible route, GPS to monitor and control cabs plying on the road, geo-coding of employees in the system based on the employee ID and when the cab reaches a particular area—you can know which employee is being picked up or dropped.

There are also complementary technologies—for example, when a particular employee boards a cab, they swipe their access card for identification and it's immediately ascertained whether it's the assigned shift or cab meant for that particular employee. GPS systems also assist in giving visibility to driver behaviour vis-à-vis instances of over-speeding, etc. Employees are asked to cite and report issues and concerns on anything related to their daily commute.

Companies are realising that employee productivity is directly related to their sense of wellbeing and security, and they are trying to provide better transportation facilities towards that end.

These measures and value-adds are instrumental in driving the growth of the corporate transportation ecosystem in India.

In India, the BPO and KPO companies are the largest users of employee transportation services as the jobs are in shifts, often during odd hours. In these outsourcing industries, the general practice is that women employees are picked up after the male employees and dropped first. Also, many companies hold workshops to educate women on self-defense tactics. Several companies also deploy in-cab armed security guards for late night commutes. Drivers are also made aware and trained in terms of behavioural skills, time and stress management etc. Incentivising them and taking proper care of them also goes a long way in making them loyal and dedicated.

Given the issues and limitations existing in the public transportation infrastructure domain, it can safely be said that the corporate transportation industry is all set to grow further, given its inherent advantages and promise.

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