AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
A zealous entrepreneur, Rewaj Chettri started the Gangtok-based NE Taxi in his second year of college, sitting in his dorm room.
Hailing from a place that sees thousands of tourists thronging the city every year, Rewaj identified an opportunity of opening a tour-guide company. Pretty soon, he realised that the tourists actually focused on finding a convenient taxi service to facilitate their travel and depended on these drivers only to act as their guides too. This led the evolution of the business into a transportation company for tourists.
‘It is not about ideas; it is about making ideas happen.’ – Scott Belsky, Behance
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Having a Bachelors degree in forestry, Rewaj had a penchant for entrepreneurship. Pursuing his instinctive inclination towards business, he became a part of more than 20 start-ups such as Cisum, a music app, Washer, a hyperlocal laundry service etc. which earned him the tag of a ‘serial entrepreneur’ among the masses.
Wanting to impart this entrepreneurial skill to more people, he also started an NGO called Start-up Harbour that aims at creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurship. Members of this community get together to discuss challenges and issues relevant to start-ups and associate with each other for projects. Another initiative taken by this NGO is a course called ‘Masterclass for entrepreneurs’ in collaboration with the IEF Foundation.
In its infant stage, Rewaj’s brainchild, NE taxi has ventured into providing diverse kinds of services like outstation, travel packages and sightseeing. These services further allow reserves and sharing variants, taxis that stay with you throughout your trip and visits to selected tourist spots, respectively.
Like any other business, NE Taxi also had its own share of challenges in its journey to make its mark in the travel industry. Convincing taxi drivers to become a part of this innovative idea and creating a new segment for tours based on car-rentals instead of accommodation tours were two major and fundamental challenges faced by the start-up to make their business work.
The efforts of the organisation did not just stop at providing transportation series. With a bigger picture in mind, it set out to curb human-trafficking and partnered with a Meghalaya-based start-up, Impulse, wherein taxi drivers can alert the police using the SOS button on their apps in case of any suspicious activity.
Within eight years of its inception, NE Taxi boasts of a fleet of more than 800 vehicles covering 60 destinations in the North East to make the visitors’ trip a comfortable experience.
This successful business venture marks the beginning of a revolution for tourism in the North-East, as it entails a hassle-free experience for tourists across the globe. The NE Taxi has achieved a commendable feat as it has established a taxi-service in places where travel giants like Uber don’t find it feasible to operate.