Now, Rent a Self-Drive Auto-Rickshaw through ZoomCar – Zoom Auto!
Gone are the days when you could hire a car or a minibus for long journeys and road-trips. Zoomcar is going a level lower, but opening a all new dimension in self-drive automobile hiring industry.
A first-of-its-kind service in India where in you will be able to hire an auto-rickshaw completely to yourself for the time chosen. Of course, you will be the ‘auto-rickshaw’ driver for the journey and you will not have to worry about excessive rentals and fares.
The service has been launched as a pilot in six cities out of the seven – Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.
A quirky post on Zoomcar’s official blog read, “With a self-drive auto, you won’t have to listen to excuses like, “my meter is not working”, or “give me Rs.500/-” or “no, I’ll not get any return passenger from there” or “Station!!! Do you have luggage? Pay me extra Rs.200 for luggage.”
How do I book an auto-rickshaw?
If you are interested in self-driving a rickshaw, head to Zoomcar’s website. While selecting the choice of vehicle after choosing dates, Zoom Auto option will also be present and can be selected.
Customers will only be allowed to drive for 30 mins for one booking at a time. This 30 minute session will set you back by Rs 40, which seems fair for half an hour ride. There will also be a 10-minute training session provided by the fleet executive, post which a 20-minute ride can be availed, with two professionals in the auto for safety.
The only cringe-worthy clause is that the auto can be driven only within 1km radius of the pick-up location. This means, only one more friend or family member can accompany you and that too only in a very small radius, which sort of beats the purpose of hiring an auto-rickshaw.
Another aspect that still completely beats me is the Rs 5000 security deposit. For a Rs 40 ride, one has to pay a staggering amount of Rs 5000 as a deposit in case of any accident or loss. Although refundable, it is sure to repel some customers.
Things people will love about the new service
Flying auto-rickshaws in Bollywood movies have become a thing and everybody disregarded their possibility. I guess now is the best time to test their validity.
Jokes apart, the service is definitely something new and exciting for people out there waiting to get hands on a three-wheeler. It is going to be a thrilling journey in city traffic, however easier to maneuver and park in the hustle and bustle of the city.
With no technology inside, apart from a radio, the auto-rickshaw is bound to make you feel humble. This service will also attract a lot of attention from everyone, people will look more than once to make sure it is not for a photo-shoot or an advertisement shoot.
“Add the tadka to your life, choose differently this time, try the Zoom Auto. Why look at it as a downgrade? Why not look at it as something that’s adventurous and fun? This will be an experience that you will want to tell your grand kids. You will be noticed by everyone, and be the topic of everyone’s conversation, with all eyes on you!,” the blog post read.
Should you give it a miss?
Absolutely not! While the environment is not in favour of the service, one should not miss a chance to drive an auto-rickshaw in India. After all, how many times can you actually say you drove a rickshaw from point A to B all on your own.
However, the negatives surely outweigh the positives. Firstly, in the sweltering heat of cities in India, it does not make much sense to hire an auto-rickshaw. Maybe once or twice it is fine, but more than that is not only going to be expensive but also going to make your ride horrible. Even as a passenger, the heat and hot winds leave you completely disheveled.
Secondly, the prices are just decent compared to an actual auto-rickshaw ride. In a fixed radius of 1km, the thrill will subside. The refundable down payment of Rs 5000 as security deposit won’t attract much bookings either, considering a 30-minute session only costs Rs 40.
Thirdly, why have professionals with you and restrict distance to 1km? Both sound ridiculous to me. You won’t be able to take friends along with you and ride around the beautiful cities, simply because the restrictions do not permit. What is the point of hiring one, when it ultimately will reduce to just selfies and photo-shoots?
With April 1 around, we should take the news with a pinch of salt. The idea, although sounds fun, seems to have been executed incomplete. Maybe Zoomcar should give it a thought again and open up the possibilities of things one can do with an auto-rickshaw.