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Delhi odd-even: Carpooling to the rescue but safety remains a concern

The roll out of Delhi government’s ambitious odd-even car scheme might pose difficulties for commuters but a host of carpool mobile apps have come to the rescue as Delhiites open up their car doors for other passengers on the same route.

Breathe delhi Updated: Jan 04, 2016 11:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi odd even,carpooling,cab shares
The roll out of Delhi government’s ambitious odd-even car formula might pose difficulties for commuters but a host of carpool mobile apps have come to the rescue as Delhiites open up their car doors for other passengers on the same route.(PTI)

The Delhi government’s ambitious odd-even formula might have brought tin difficulties for commuters but a host of carpool mobile apps have come to the rescue as Delhiites opened their car doors for other passengers on the same route.

Host of mobile applications such as Orahi, Ibibo Ryde, BlaBlaCar, UberPool, OlaCarPool are allowing people to sign up and start offering or availing rides from a list of commuters going in the same direction.

Read more: Real test for Delhi’s odd-even plan, tourism minister takes a bus

“The odd-even scheme will surely bring the concept of carpooling into public consciousness, which despite its obvious benefits of reduced fuel costs and ability to reduce congestion, has never really taken off in the city. It is difficult to travel in overcrowded metros and buses once we are used to comfort of private cars but then the traffic congestion and pollution are harmful byproducts of that comfort, so carpool is the middle way out,” said Bineet Chatterjee, who carpooled to Noida from Gurgaon.

Some riders even shared their carpooling selfies and experiences on Twitter.

Shakil Lightwala, who carpooled from Saket to Gurgaon, told HT, “Carpooling is the way to go. It not only helps beat the traffic but is also a viable option for commuters travelling in the same direction daily. Even if odd-even does not become a permanent solution, carpooling should be given an impetus.”

“It’s actually going well so far. Carpooled today (via Uber app).Thinking about giving up driving for the regular commute and switch to carpool, even on the alternate days I can drive on my own,” said Vishal Chandra on Facebook.

Both informal and organised carpooling can be a viable option for those who don’t want to get off their cars and take public transport. Taxi apps like Uber and Ola have also entered the rideshare segment. They are offering shared taxi rides within cities.

Cab Share is a feature integrated within the Ola app and lets you share your Ola ride. Other people headed in the same direction can board the cab, which also turns out to be cheaper as you split the fare. CarPool is another feature within the Ola app which lets you register your car for carpooling trips on odd or even days. Drivers can set the point of origin and destination so others can carpool with them. This feature is free, but Ola lets you “gift” the money to the driver via Ola Money.

Similarly, UberPool works like Ola CarPool to let riders share their cabs with other passengers heading in the same direction. Ryde is another carpooling app that can help Delhiites. Drivers must register, define their route and price per seat.

“Odd-even policy has pumped up our registrations substantially. We are expecting to manage around 400-500 carpool trips daily. We work on a cashless system where passengers are supposed to pay online so there is no hassle of exchanging cash after each ride,” said Honey Monga, alliance manager of Orahi.

Raghav Gupta, country manager at BlaBlaCar said, “we have 25,000 seats on offer and in Delhi-NCR and this weekend onwards we expect this to go up tremendously”. Shuttl, a bus aggregating platform offering shuttle bus service that launched last year, is also adding more buses to its existing fleet for commuters during the odd-even days.

On Facebook there is a Delhi-Odd even car share group which allows people find riders with complimentary number plates who travel on similar routes.

While carpooling is being seen as a good option, there are concerns from women about how efficient the real-time service would be for regular commuters who prefer pre-planned trips.

“The option is better than travelling in jam-packed metro train but how safe carpooling is, is a matter of concern for girls especially. Since you are travelling with strangers in a carpool, that fear will always be there at the back of our mind,” said Swati Babber, a college student.

Nidhi Khurana, an IT professional said it will be further helpful if companies enter into some carpooling agreements with cab services for its employers.

“Two major stakeholders - employers and government agencies can play a major role in promoting carpools. The government should frame a carpool promotion policy laying down ground rules for commercial carpools and to avoid legal or regulatory hurdles,” she said.

“I do not prefer to sit in a car in which strangers are sitting. Crime has been reported in such cases where people carpool,” said Samiksha, a research scholar at JNU.

There were some concerns about the practicality of carpooling with passengers travelling on the same route.

“Carpool sounds good but practicality is poor. What if one of the four passengers get free from work early and need to go home early? What if there is some emergency at home and he has to leave for home and then go out from home in the car? asked Rahul Bhartiya on Facebook.

With inputs from Agencies

First Published: Jan 04, 2016 10:45 IST