Bike-taxi firm Rapido gives shields to captains for social distancing

The Rapido Shield, which weighs around 400 gms, will be worn by the captain during rides
Bike-taxi company Rapido on Wednesday said it has introduced ‘Rapido Back Shields’ as an added measure of safety for its captains (driver-partners) and customers. Rapido Back Shields, a first of its kind safety measure programme by a bike taxi player in the country, will aim at further increasing the safety aspect of using bike taxi during this ongoing pandemic. The shields would act as a protective barrier for restricting contact.

The Rapido Shield, which weighs around 400 gms, will be worn by the captain during rides and will prevent any contact from the customer on the pillion seat. The shield is a lightweight, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) board that will be attached to the driver partner’s back like a rucksack. The shield will cover his body and will make for a considerable distance between the rider and the captain.

Bengaluru-based Rapido, which has raised a total funding of $78.4 million from investors including Westbridge Capital, Alibaba’s BAce Capital and Shunwei Capital, will bear the cost of installation. The firm is providing the shields free of cost to their captains, to further ease the financial burden on them while ensuring successful adoption.

“Safety of our customers is of prime concern to us. We want them to feel safe and assured whenever they use Rapido,” said Aravind Sanka, co-founder, Rapido. “From using masks, sanitisers and ensuring regular checks of captains, now we have worked on an innovative back shield that will act as a protective gear that will further increase the safety of our rides,” he added.

Rapido test rode the shields in cities like Hyderabad, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Jaipur with around 800 captains wearing the shield and completing rides. The test run included testing the aerodynamics of various materials to build a shield with the right size and quality. This also included making it compact and comfortable for the rider and minimises touchpoints for the customers during the rides.

Rapido has launched a comprehensive set of safety measures since Unlock 1.0, such as requesting customers to carry their own helmets to maintain hygiene as opposed to providing full-face helmets before every ride. It also came up with new policy support where the company provides free cancellation if captains or customers are without a mask.

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