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View: Impact of COVID-19 on commuter’s changing mobility behaviour in India

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Vehicle subsciption services allow people to have flexibility and freedom in terms of commuting while also ensuring safety at the same time.

View: Impact of COVID-19 on commuter’s changing mobility behaviour in India
Do you remember how travel looked like before the COVID-19 pandemic struck India? Let’s recall how we used to travel every day to work or nearby places back in the ‘normal times’. Those who did not have a private car opted for public transport or book cabs to travel from location A to B.
Cut to today, after the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has been disrupted in terms of mobility. You must have already experience that your choice of mobility and transportation has changed in the wake of the pandemic. For instance, if you were one of those who travelled to work via public transport, you are now skeptical to do so. Simply because public transport like buses, local trains, metros, etc. are not considered 100 percent safe given the high possibility of contracting the virus while commuting via these mediums. Therefore, when it comes to safety, flexibility, and privacy, a private vehicle is considered to be ideal.
You are lucky if you already own a vehicle. But for many, buying a brand new car at this moment isn't a feasible option because it's a big-spending commitment, which also means locking down finances for at least five years. And most such people do not wish to do so, considering the prevailing economic uncertainty.
This is where vehicle subscription services come into the picture.
From vehicle ownership to subscription
Opting for a vehicle subscription model eliminates concerns related to heavy down payments and other related costs. Moreover, it ideally comes with shorter lock-in periods and reasonable pricing, thereby making it a more affordable, flexible, and convenient choice as against vehicle ownership.
Growing popularity
While the mobility space has been witnessing a massive transformation in the wake of the pandemic, vehicle subscription services are gaining traction like never before. Why so?
Primarily because such a service allows people to have flexibility and freedom in terms of commuting while also ensuring safety at the same time.
For instance, a large number of essential service workers such as doctors, lawyers, and government employees, etc. opted for vehicle subscription services during the pandemic-induced lockdown. And it didn’t end there. When the lockdown eased, demand picked up among salaried employees, entrepreneurs as well as startup owners, who identified these app-based mobility services as a budget-friendly alternative to vehicle ownership.
The leading players in the vehicle subscription space have also been quick to accommodate the changing needs of consumers. They realised the need to sustainably transform the mobility ecosystem, both from both economic and environmental perspectives.
Why go for vehicle subscription services?
Today, brands in this segment are offering personal vehicle subscription plans that allow users to subscribe to a vehicle for 6 or 60 months by just paying a nominal monthly or yearly subscription price. In fact, in the vehicle subscription model, one does not have to make any down payment. Rather, registration charges, maintenance costs, and road tax are all included in the monthly or yearly subscription plan.
Moreover, all vehicles are delivered keeping in mind utmost safety measures, with brands ensuring thorough sanitization and contactless delivery. These factors make personalised vehicle subscriptions a hassle-free and feasible option while providing instant ownership to commuters.
Most importantly, India’s car rental industry has grown exponentially over the last few years, and the number of users is projected to reach 77.5 million by 2025. Hence, the change in the mobility landscape has already begun in the country.
Knowing the industry is already on the track of expansion, players offering vehicle subscription services are vigorously catering to the evolving needs of the new-age consumers. They are incorporating more and more technology-driven features to provide best-in-class mobility experiences to customers not just today, but also in the years to come.
The author Sakshi Vij is  Founder and CEO, Myles Cars. The views expressed are personal.
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