City loves to cab pool

City loves to cab pool

Private carpooling still has a long way to go, but the city is on top in the south when it comes to shared cab rides.

Pooling of private cars is yet to catch on in Bengaluru, while pool rides offered by cab aggregators have gained in popularity.

Bengaluru cabs are doing better than many other cities in this regard, industry insiders say.

Uber, which offers UberPool, which has expanded its geofence to cover almost all of the city, and says that the response to pooling has been encouraging.

“UberPool enables people travelling in the same direction to share their journey and the cost. According to the Green Index released by Uber, ridesharing continues to see a significant upswing year on year across all cities. Bengaluru has registered the highest number of Pool trips taken so far, followed by Delhi and Kolkata. Almost 37 per cent of all trips in the city are on UberPool,” says an Uber spokesperson.   

Bengaluru sees an uptick in commute to and from the Metro stations and other transit hubs during the morning and evening peak hours. “As a result, these areas see more sharing ride bookings during these timings,” explains the Uber spokesperson.

Ola did not respond to queries about details of carpooling options. 

With traffic woes on the rise, carpooling is a solution suggested by many.

Aparna PK, software professional, says many tech parks in the city encourage the idea but do little to execute it.

“Though there are so many cab sharing options and applications, people are turned off by the choc-a-bloc traffic and the multiple stops. After a tiring day of work, all one wants to do is rush home after all,” she says.

She tries to carpool as frequently as possible with four friends who commute from JP Nagar to Manyata Business Park. “We drive our own cars by turns,” she says. 

Carpooling is not difficult, says Prakash Sonapatra, design executive with a UK-based company. He has been carpooling for a year.

“Form a circle of carpoolers or check out apps like Ridene, PoolCircle, BlaBlaCar, ZipGo, Orahi, and RideAlly which cater to your preferences. When forming a carpooling group, make sure all riders on the same path,” he says.

He says multiple detours can get taxing both for the ride-giver and takers.

Carpooling is not preferred by women, observes Anuradha B M, owner of Go Pink Premium Cabs.

“Our cabs are meant only for women and children, yet women prefer a cab all to themselves and don’t mind paying full fare,” she says.

The women cite many reasons to avoid pooling. Pregnant women, for instance, would like the driver to go slow, which inconveniences other riders.

Women also worry about safety when they choose a shared ride.

But schoolchildren are taking shared rides with Go Pink. “They don’t mind travelling together. We have rides where four or five children go together every day,” she says.

QuickRide, a carpooling platform, is gradually increasing its business, says Naveen, co-founder.

“We launched in 2015 and our business has grown since. Earlier the concept was not this popular. With most aggregator applications, one has to order a cab but here we have two parties: a ride-giver and a ride-taker who we help connect. We verify ride-givers to ensure safety,” he says.

Compared to cities like Hyderabad and Chennai, Bengaluru tops in carpooling, he vouches. “We have a long way to go though,” he says.

The Bengaluru traffic police have been campaigning for the concept off and on. Manish Rungta, assistant chief traffic warden (Ulsoor), says share rides have grown exponentially among aggregators.

“Carpooling is among the public transport options but people are not sure about sharing their own cars with others,” he says.

A toll on cars with single occupants and barring them from high-density roads are sometimes proposed, but such harsh decisions can’t be taken just by the police, he says.

“It has to be a cohesive, collective decision between the bureaucracy, governance and people at large,” he suggests.   

Pehle app

A host of apps facilitate carpooling in Bengaluru. Here are some:

  • QuickRide
  • Ridene
  • PoolCircle
  • BlaBlaCar
  • ZipGo
  • Orahi
  • RideAlly