The Delhi government may soon issue guidelines for carpooling, probably in time for the 15-day experiment with odd-even car numbers.
The guidelines may draw on the Singapore law, which limits the number of such rides by a car owner to two a day, prevents them from soliciting passengers on the street, and says the payment by co-passengers must not exceed the cost of the trip.
As the odd-even scheme keeps half the cars off the road from January 1, carpooling will provide much-needed succour to commuters. The trouble is, commuters are fussy about carpooling, a fledgling concept in India. And their questions begin with the most elementary: is it legal?
The guidelines will make it clear that it is legal. At the same time, it will lay down the norms for it.
The Delhi Dialogue Commission held two meetings last week with carpooling companies and taxi services. The biggest taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber are also getting into ride sharing. The commission studies big ideas, best practices, and polices from around the world and recommends them to the Delhi government.
Nitish Bhushan, Asia head for Brazil-based ride sharing service Tripda, which is also present in Singapore, said the meeting was dominated by issues of security, especially for ladies, incentives for the public to carpool, and execution, and that the Singapore law did come up for discussion.
Speakers at the meeting emphasised the importance of know-your-customer norms, emergency contact button, and ladies-only carpools.
A panel discussion was held on Thursday at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, which too, discussed carpooling. It was attended by the members of the BJP and Congress, The Energy and Resources Institute, Chase Foundation, Niti Foundation, and others.