Humans can call an Uber or Ola cab at the press of a button. So, why should pets feel left out? Enter Petxi of Pune which will ferry dogs anywhere in a taxi designed just for them.
Launched in January 2016 by Priya Kailad, an animal welfare activist, and Aditya Makharia, who runs a private taxi hiring service called Makson Auto Hirers, Petxi is not meant for earning a profit but to help transport injured stray animals.
"We were nursing 12 puppies last year," Makharia told HuffPost India. "We reached out to a lot of people but getting them adopted and transporting them was a pain. So, we realized that there is a need for such services. We took two cars from our fleet and converted them into dog-friendly taxis."
Petxi's cars can be booked through a call, WhatsApp or Facebook messenger. One vehicle is dedicated for the transfer of strays while the other can be booked by pet owners. The backseat in both cars has been been removed and replaced by cushions and macintoshes to make the four-legged passengers comfortable.
Makharia said that the company staff has been trained to take care of the pets and even the chauffeurs are friendly with the dogs. Each car is equipped with a first-aid kit to provide immediate treatment to injured animals.
"Pets are very emotional," Kailad added. "While transferring them we have to make sure that they are not uncomfortable or anxious. We make sure that our drivers talk to the dogs constantly to make them feel safe."
Petxi founders are associated with different animal welfare groups which notify them about injured animals. They are also focusing on Animal Birth Control (ABC).
The company also charges different rates for the two types of passengers. For injured strays, the rate is ₹12 per kilometre to cover fuel and driver cost. For pets, there are different packages, such as ₹500 for 10 kilometres and one hour, ₹800 for 20 kilometres and 2 hours, and so on. Petxi provides outstation service as well at ₹14 per kilometre.
Petxi is also looking beyond Pune. "We are setting up a process here," Makharia said. "Once we are comfortable in handling the operations we would like to move to bigger cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru where the demand for the service is much higher."