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In a landmark press conference held on March 19, 2024, in Mumbai, entrepreneur Mr. Siddharth Gupta along with strategic partner 3EA unveiled their latest venture, Porter Buddy, a revolutionary aggregator platform set to disrupt traditional and unorganized railway porter services. With an exclusive IPR in hand, copyright registration number L-144139/2024, Mr. Guptas startup aims to bridge the technological gap between passengers and porters in Indias bustling railway stations. The idea of this startup not only streamlines luggage handling services but also elevates the working conditions of the porters, traditionally known as ‘coolies‘.

Mr. Siddharth Gupta

In an exclusive interaction, Mr. Siddharth Gupta and Dr. Vibhor Mishra, principal consultant of the project, shed light on the inception, vision, and unique features of Porter Buddy, and how it stands to benefit both passengers and porters.

What inspired the inception of Porter Buddy

The idea for creating an aggregator platform between coolies and passengers was born out of my own experiences and observations at railway stations. I noticed the chaos and stress passengers face while trying to find a reliable porter amid the heavy crowds. Additionally, coolies often struggled to find steady work throughout the day and it still is a job considered to be of lesser dignity. This imbalance struck me as a problem ripe for a technological solution, leading me to this unique idea, which was further nurtured and given a final shape as ‘Porter Buddy’ under mentorship of 3EA“.

3EA is a strategic management consulting group that caters to bootstrapped and funded start- ups, esteemed organizations, reputed MNCs and SMEs and delivers result-driven leading- edge solutions.

How does this transformation impact the roles and perceptions of Coolies

Porter Buddy reimagines the entire porter service ecosystem. While “coolie” may have sounded neutral once, it carries a heavy burden from the past, the British used it to belittle and take advantage of Indian workers. Its a constant echo of an exploitative system. “Porter,” in contrast, portrays someone with a specific skill set offering an important service. Instead of the traditional method where passengers and porters haggle over prices, we are introducing a seamless, app-based booking system. This eradicates the need for last-minute negotiations and provides clear, upfront pricing. More so, it’s about elevating the status of porters, transforming them into service professionals who are respected and fairly compensated. This platform is about bringing dignity and order to a system that has been neglected for too long.” – Dr. Vibhor Mishra, CEO, 3EA.

How do you anticipate that Porter Buddy will revolutionize the dynamics between railway passengers and porters, and what professional benefits does this predict for both parties involved
The impact will be profound”, Mr. Gupta said, “The bigger picture is to redefine the railway experience. For passengers, it’s about convenience and security – knowing that a verified, professional porter is just a few clicks away, with no hidden costs or uncertainties. For porters, it’s transformative – they become part of a digital economy, with steady jobs, predictable income, and a newfound respect in society. It’s about shifting from a chaotic service exchange to a dignified, mutually beneficial relationship.”

What all is this platform offering to enhance the passenger’s convenience apart from the usual luggage carrying facility
Porter Buddy is aiming to serve railway stations across the country, and is set to address needs of both travelers and porters. For passengers, Porter Buddy offers convenience and peace of mind. They can book a porter in advance from within the train, ensuring that help is waiting for them upon arrival. Particularly for the benefit of elderly passengers, specially abled, or anyone carrying heavy luggage, Porter Buddy comes with wheelchair and trolley facilities which can be accessed by customers at the time of booking. Mr. Gupta continued, “One of the unique standout features is that we’re integrating features that cater to the broader needs of railway passengers. This includes options for porters to perform additional tasks, passengers can request porters to purchase items such as medicines, eatables or anything available at or nearby station premises for customers at the time of booking. This adds an extra layer of convenience, especially for those who might have forgotten to pack something important.”

How will you establish the trust factor for your service

Security and trust are paramount. Its also about establishing a feedback loop, ensuring quality control and accountability. Our platform will provide real-time tracking of services & chat support ensuring transparency and safety for both parties. Every porter on our platform will undergo a rigorous background check and training process to ensure they meet our standards of professionalism and integrity. Furthermore, Passengers can see ratings and reviews for each porter, helping them make informed decisions,” – Mr. Siddharth Gupta.

What do you feel about the acceptance of your proposed business model by three target audiences- Indian railways, travelers and most importantly coolies
Entire idea behind this unique business model is to elevate the lifestyle of coolie, create an impact in their social status and a new vertical for their earning. There will be a new perception about ‘a coolie’ as ‘a platform service provider’ which will bring respect and new earning opportunities for him. During our detailed and exhaustive research for the development of business model and three-year business plan, we have trusted upon the values for all three target beneficiaries. We are going to help Indian railways to regularize standard tariff for coolie. We will facilitate travelers by a new service that can help them to avail any product at platform for their requirement. Moreover, coolies are aimed as main target beneficiary segment as my project will bring respect and money both for them. This model can follow the pattern already established and set by Ola, Uber, Zomato etc.”

Porter Buddy is a timely solution that addresses a long-standing challenge for train travelers. Its a disruptive force poised to transform the Indian railway experience. By integrating technology with human-centric services, Porter Buddy aims to bring order, dignity, and convenience to the chaotic experience of railway travel, setting a new standard for service and efficiency in one of Indias most traditional and unorganized sectors,” Dr. Vibhor Mishra concluded.

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