A year ago, Rajeev Lamba, 40, drove alone from his home in Malad to his office in Saki Naka through heavy traffic. Like him, many people he knew went to work on the same routes in their own cars. Then one day, it occurred to Lamba why not initiate a car pool, which will decongest the roads as well as reduce carbon emissions.
And so began Car Pool Mumbai, a Facebook group that serves a platform for Mumbaiites to find people to carpool and promote an eco-friendly and stress free commute. The group now has 581 members.
“The concept of car pool is simple in nature and in a city like Mumbai, it really helps on multiple fronts. It helps in decongest traffic, especially on routes that lead to the city’s key corporate hubs and reduces air pollution,” said Lamba.
For five days a week, he travels in his car with four people from Malad to Saki Naka and has a different set of car pool members for morning and evening commute.
Though keen on the idea of a car pool, Antop Hill resident Intesar Khatri could not find members. But when he joined the Facebook group, he pitched his own car pool to the co-members and he immediately found co-travellers.
“I used to travel by bike to work but during the monsoon, it became a hassle. I always wanted to be part of a car pool as it is eco-friendly, so I began one with my own car,” said Khatri, 33, an employee of Tata Consultancy Services.
He added, “I had three co-travellers, who commute from Antop-Hill to Powai. Car pools also reduce the pressure on public transport.”
Transport experts said though car pool has limitations, it is convenient. “Car pools can be handicapped by non-compatible schedules, especially for the commute back from work. But it is certainly not a bad medium of commute as Mumbai’s traffic is concentrated on limited routes,” said Rishi Aggarwal, transport expert.
Car pool members have different ways of sharing the cost. Some ask members to pay for fuel, while some just give a free ride. “Apart from the environmental benefits, car pools can be economical and are also a safe way of travelling,” said Lamba.