Getting “more people into fewer cars” has the potential to cut jamming and, therefore, pollution in urban cities. In India, carpooling and ride-sharing can actually boosted urban mobility and global online cab-hailing app Uber has increased the ground running on this count.
The San Francisco-headquartered firm launched UberPOOL — a service that accredits people going the similar way at the same time to the part of their journey — in Bengaluru in September 2015. Thereafter, it was introduced in Delhi in December 2015, followed by Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and, more recently, in Chennai.
“The response we have got on UberPOOL has been phenomenal so far and is fast-emerging as the most preferred mode of transport for riders in India. More than 31 per cent of rides in Delhi are on UberPOOL and over 20 per cent of the UberPOOL rides are in the remaining five cities — Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai,” Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India, informed IANS.
“Since the launch of UberPOOL in the country, the company has partnered with citizens in saving over 32 million km of vehicle-travel, over 1.5 million litres of fuel, reducing CO2 emissions worth 3.5 million kg,” Dalal claimed. Uber COMMUTE — the ride-sharing feature for those who embark on long rides on a daily basis to share journey with a fellow commuter headed in the same direction and regain the costs — is also picking up.
Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, who was recently in India, also spoke at length about how to decongest mega cities in the country.
Uber has also introduced a lot of firsts in India. UberGO — a new range of low cost, chauffeur-driven hatchbacks (like Etios Liva and Maruti Ritz) that was first rolled out for riders in India — is now available in Turkey. Cash as a payment option was first piloted in Hyderabad in May 2015. The option is now available in various parts of the world, including Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia.
“We recently launched a new rider app, rebuilt completely from the ground up for the first time, since the last redesign in 2012,” Dalal said, adding that the India experience shows that carpooling and ride-sharing will sure make a tangible difference when it comes to helping with pollution and congestion.