India's first Sainik-managed mobility service promises safe, electric rides
The country's first last-mile mobility service operated by retired defence personnel in association with Electrodrive Powertrain Solutions Private Limited (Electra EV) was recently launched in Bengaluru. Called ‘SainikPod Sit & Go’, the service has a fleet of about 100 electric vehicles comprising Tata Tigor electric vehicles and Neo EVs (Tata Nano electric cars).
For mobility solutions provider - MotherPod Innovations Private Limited, the idea behind recruiting ex-servicemen to drive these vehicles is to provide them with a dignified career after retirement and offer safest rides possible to commuters, especially female passengers. "Our sainiks are the most disciplined and reliable group of people in our country. In terms of safety for commuters... especially for women, SainikPod and our sainiks offer the highest level of safety ever available to them," Monish Khosla, CEO SainikPod, told HT Auto.
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Passengers can board SainikPod vehicles from conveniently located pickup points, called Pod stands outside major Bengaluru metro stations. This is convenient for passengers uncomfortable with digital booking processes or those who don’t have access to internet on their phones. Commuters can also avail to SainikPod membership, where they'll be required to pay minimum ₹25 per ride and ₹15/km thereon.
All SainikPods come equipped with smart meters and are managed by Sainik Control Room in order to offer 'safest commute option' for people. Further, they dedicatedly follow all Covid safety protocols wherein the vehicles are sanitized after each ride and there is a partition in every car.
The mobility company has already partnered with Bengaluru metro as well as IT companies like Capgemini, Wipro and IBM - to provide its services. It will soon roll out pick points to all 35 Namma Metro Stations in Bengaluru. Soon, it will also be available at commuter hot spots in the city. The company also plans to eventually expand to cafes, malls and airports across the country. SainikPod is also in the process of creating its own charging infrastructure in association with key players.
Summing up the crux behind the idea of launching SainikPod Sit & Go, Khosla said that the aim is to give dignified careers to ex-servicemen, provide utmost safety to commuters and promote electric mobility in order to reduce emissions. “Our sainiks (will) not just offer the safest commute in the country with SainikPod Sit&Go, but also reduce pollution in our cities," he added.