How SAVAAR-E, an e-rickshaw startup is solving the big problem of public transportation: last-mile connectivity

In a very recent TED Talk I heard, the speaker talks about an individual’s influence in four parameters – productivity, people, planet and purpose. While most people only had substantial influence in one of the four areas – productivity/profit, only a few were inclined to work towards people and purpose, there’s not a lot we do when it comes to the planet. 

Demanding Action, Inspiring Hope

We are probably the first of many human generations to witness the immediate effects of climate change. Our ancestors wrote cheques they couldn’t cash – and our current generations aren’t having it. With people finally being held accountable for their carbon footprints, I believe you’ll agree with me when I say that sustainability is a conversation many of us aren’t willing to have.

However, here’s what we often miss out on – changes do not happen overnight. They happen like the earth’s rotation – universally present, but imperceptible. Changes unfold slowly – in the form of small habits and conversations. Sustainability too, is ingrained in us – in our habit to hoard wastepaper, wearing hand-me-downs, holding on to wrappers until we spot a dustbin, feeding the strays, shutting off fans and turning off taps.  

Speaking of sustainability, we have an exciting startup to introduce to you today. Better known as the ‘ten-rupee-rickshaws’ amongst the daily commuters of the Ahmedabad BRTS, SAVAAR-E is a startup founded by Vraj Shah that not only aims to promote sustainability but implement a new definition of sustainability. First commencing in July 2021, SAVAAR-E today has the potential to allow for the last-mile connectivity of more than 500 passengers every day.

Social, Economical and Sustainable

Vraj decided to turn what began as a solution for a minor inconvenience he faced into a solution that now positively impacts people’s livelihoods, embraces one’s social values, and is in harmony with the environment – a solution that, in his words, is “truly sustainable, and not just what’s good for the environment”. 

“SAVAAR-E wants to implement a different definition of sustainability. It provides better earnings for its drivers, gives passengers a cheaper, greener option to commute and is single-handedly organising the last-mile connectivity sector. Not just that, SAVAAR-E is filling the gaps in EV infrastructure by providing its own charging stations to the drivers.”

Vraj also recognises the importance of startup support ecosystems like AIC GUSEC. He says, “If we’d started out 10 years ago, SAVAAR-E would probably have been just another business venture. Meeting with stakeholders of the startup ecosystem made me realise the must-haves for a startup’s progress. For SAVAAR-E’s progress, the support of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was crucial. Not just that, the Government of Gujarat and India have praiseworthy policies pertaining to transportation and EVs which have helped us take our offering to more people.”

“Sustainability doesn’t stop at being eco-friendly. It is equal parts saving, sharing and creating an inclusive environment. A product cannot cost 1000 rupees and count as sustainable.  An electric toothbrush isn’t sustainable, a datun (teeth-cleansing twig) is. 

We can all emulate sustainability in our lifestyles. Of course, this won’t happen by turning our lives around overnight – but with small, subtle decisions that we can all make for ourselves and inspire those around us.

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