Rivigo started with a mission 5 years ago, to use relay trucking to bring truck drivers back to their families every day and transform their social ecosystem for higher respect and quality of life. It is overwhelming to see that a small idea like relay trucking has brought about such meaningful changes in the lives of truck pilots and helped us create a transformational business model on the back of it. Every year, our Founder & CEO, Deepak Garg, visits pilots across India, spends time with them and listens to their stories and their issues. He’s been traveling this year too and recently finished a 2,000 KM road journey from Hyderabad to Delhi meeting over 1,000 pilots. Here is a glimpse of the small and subtle changes that have had a deep impact on their lives.
1. From truck driver to truck pilot – when we started our journey “truck driver” had become a rotten word, associated with a lowly caste (truck drivers were called the 37th caste) and a lowly job. We started using the word “truck pilot” to create a sense of respect towards the job. It is heartening to see that today, not just Rivigo, but small fleet owners are using the word “pilot” abundantly.
2. Being at home in difficult times – many pilots could not come home to attend funerals of their family members or were not there during difficult times because their job took them away. With relay, truck pilots are never away for more than a day and can attend to their family whenever needed.
3. Home food – earlier, pilots would have hotel/dhaba food all the time leading to high blood pressure, diabetes and ill health. Now, all of them carry home food in relay driving and are seeing benefits of better health. The home food also brings them closer to their wife or mother.
4. Impact on their children – when asked in school, most children would be shy of telling others that their father is a truck driver. They would fear isolation, humiliation or disrespect if anyone knew that their father was doing such a job. Now children proudly say that their father is a Rivigo relay pilot and he goes on “duty”. The word “duty” brings an immense amount of respect and directly impacts the mindset of that child who faces the world with renewed confidence.
5. On time payment – with digital payments to their bank accounts, all relay pilots get paid on time. Earlier, most pilots would have to beg their supervisors and managers for cash payments who’d pay but after deducting their commission. The hard-earned money of a pilot would be held hostage by a corrupt supervisor. Things have changed now and brought a sense of security and peace to truck pilots. Now they make good on their commitment and word to the grocery shop, milkman and others in the village. It leads to a different level of respect when they are true to their word in the village every time
6. More savings – Cash payments would get spent on the road or wasted away in alcohol and other things. Money in the bank gets saved for long term use and is available for their family. Relay pilots through bank payouts save a lot more than traditional truckers who still get cash payments or make money by selling fuel.
7. Technology – Every activity like duty allocation, interaction, training, help, chats, performance management is done through technology on their smartphones. Using a smartphone for their day to day work management has changed their pride and respect and made the truck driver’s job look more professional and process oriented and created a new sense of dignity.
8. Health insurance – Truck pilots had no clue about health insurance. It was not uncommon for their life savings to go away in one health incident in their family. With full health coverage for their wife and 2 children, they are in complete peace to tackle any health issue. Thousands of pilots have used this facility over the last year to provide better healthcare to their families. It was especially nice to hear stories of daughters of truck pilots being born in private wards at private hospitals instead of general wards of government hospitals. A small but transformational shift.
9. Financial inclusion – Almost everyone has got a bank loan (at a very low interest rate) because of payouts in their bank account. Earlier, no one would provide a bank loan to them. They’ve used this for small things like buying durables, cars, bikes or house construction work. Several pilots have got home loans and fulfilled their dream of owning flats and homes in small towns and villages.
10. Scholarship for children – Most children of truck pilots now study in English medium private schools and they’ve started taking an active interest in the education of their children. Not that English medium is necessary, but it is a sign that spending on education is going up and that they are actively engaged. Rivigo has also facilitated scholarships for hundreds of children through various schemes. It brings tremendous pride when sons and daughters of our pilots go on to be state or national level players in sports (we have seen several examples of this) or take leaps in education.
Rivigo’s pledge is to make this transformation a lasting revolution that will impact the lives of 100,000 pilots and if we do that, we believe the truck pilot ecosystem will permanently change for good. We also want to make “zero accidents” a possibility through continuous work on safety and technology in our operations.
Here is a collage from the visits undertaken by our Founder and CEO, Deepak Garg, over the last week.