“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality. – Amit Chhabria”
Way back in 2003 I was working for a BPO in Pune as a TL, It was usually UK shifts for me as my family was in Mumbai and easier for me to work late nights. However my shifts use to end at around 2am. Being the last TL on floor, it would take about 30 odd mins to prepare the last MIS and send to my bosses. However, this meant I was missing my daily drops facility from office. I used to stay at a place which was about a 25-30 minutes walk from Marigold complex in Kalyani Nagar Pune to Koregaon park close to Osho ashram. Back then the Kalyani Nagar bridge was still new and hardly lit at that early hour, leaving me probably the only person to walk back alone. For almost a month this went on. One day a guy on a bike was passing by. He took a U-turn, came near me and asked if I need a lift. Just being thankful for his generosity I sat on the bike and we chatted till he dropped me. Hardly a 5-7 ride on bike.
Seemed like he had a similar route and timing as he used to work in the office building opposite to mine, Mphasis. For the next 3 month’s whenever possible, either of us would call and check if we could go together. On the day I resigned from that company and was about to move back to Mumbai, I just called and thanked him, he mentioned ‘Don’t worry. Just give a lift to someone like you whenever possible’. It was a small suggestion but lingered on in my mind.
By 2006, had my bike for daily travel to work. Started giving lifts to colleague’s and random strangers standing on bus stops. So that at least one person could be unburdened from the traffic. This was a thought that shaped into a vision as I delved deeper into this topic. The more cars I would see on the road with just one or max two people in it, while the traffic jam was horrendous and pollution from petrol and diesel was getting unbearable, the more I felt this was a problem to be solved instead of just complaining about it.
In 2016 I was working as a consultant in a company called Carbaazi.com. It was one of the first few companies in India as an e-marketplace for four-wheelers again back in Pune. I presented directors to launch a company where automobiles are bought online, giving them on subscription or need based rentals for self drive. The market for subscription-based cars was unheard-off at that time. So, people did not get the plan very well. Within a few years, we saw other companies coming into the market on the similar lines.
The idea kept lurking in my mind. With time the idea started taking a more concrete shape. From fossil fuels, diesel, petrol cars, I started researching electric vehicles. By 2018 I gained enough information about these chargeable vehicles. I wanted to see them unfold in the Indian market. So, it was the idea of offering electric vehicle taxi services while trying to ensure minimum road infra is used and maximum time is saved without adding to the carbon emission levels. That is how Hoppy Mobility came into the picture.
Most people did not believe in the idea. They said the infrastructure for such vehicles is not available, and people will not accept it. In 2020, I started renting out electric bikes and offered a lift to people in different locations of South Mumbai to check the feasibility of my plan.
I wanted to know whether people would be interested in electric bike taxis or not. During this experiment, I met around 250 people whom I gave rides to. I dropped them off and on for ten days. During those ten days, some people started waiting for me at the station for a ride. They would call me and ask if I could drop them at their office. The reason being, firstly, it was a zero-emission vehicle. Secondly, they liked the fact that I was trying to make a change and most importantly because this was a faster and more economical way of traveling.
The good part above all was that people were fine in sitting behind a stranger and taking the ride. I had doubts that women wearing saree might find it inconvenient. To my surprise, they accepted the ride when I offered them. So, all my doubts vanished into thin air. I started serving people just ten days before the first Janta curfew began. On the 22nd of March 2020, there was a lockdown all over India. The beginning of year-long home quarantine.
My plans were failing again, I was without a job, no money and investors were wary about such a service requirement in the new normal of Work from Home, although the idea of Electric vehicles and bike taxis were appreciated. I had to ensure agility and market acceptance. Tweaked the plan to start with delivery services for essentials and non essentials from local stores and supermarkets.
I had to convince the restaurant and local stores about orders which they received directly for home delivery of their customers, will be more cost effective and efficient if we do it for them. An angel investor saw potential in this and invested with us.
Our first client for local deliveries is Localneeds.com from Mira bhayander. We started with just two bikes for their deliveries and slowly added more establishments to our network from Kalyan, Dombivali and beyond areas extending till Mira bhayander.
Today we offer same day delivery of your essentials and non essentials from various clients from Ecom and SME business to restaurants and retail stores. Apart from this we also offer electric bikes on rental services for daily commute on subscription.
Hoppy Mobility was an idea back in 2016 that took the shape of an eco-friendly and sustainable business with many iterations going into it. We offer not just logistics support to local business and stores which is extremely important in this tight economy during the pandemic, we also offer employment to drivers while keeping a tab on our carbon levels since we only have electric two-wheeler taxis, says Amit Chhabria, founder of Hoppy Mobility.
Amit Chhabria brought sustainable travel solution of electric bikes, which is considered early for the Indian market. Creating a sustainable travel and logistics solution Amit is tapping a less explored market in India and becoming an essential part of a more considerable change.