25-year-old Kshitij Kapoor works with an MNC in Gurgaon. Being a resident of Mayur Vihar in East Delhi, he was quite hesitant initially to join an organisation at almost the other end of the city. However, things became easy when he started sharing rides with fellow commuters to Gurgaon from a nearby bus stop. Like Kshitij, in an urban city, most of the people travel almost 30-50 km on a daily basis and the amount of time they were stuck in traffic is anywhere between 60-150 minutes. Urban population is about to hit 590 Mn by 2030, which is around 400 Mn now. Indian cities are already dense with 200 – 1000 people per hectare within the city limits. With the increasing amount of traffic in the urban cities that has increased by ten folds and the pollution crossing alarming levels, this is the time to seek out a better alternative of commuting. Ride sharing comes as an ideal solution to all these commuting setbacks.
In a normal situation, where almost 60% of people in the cities travel alone on the roads, be it in their personal vehicles or in taxis and autos, traffic jams and pollution levels are bound to increase. The recently introduced sample odd-even rule in the capital city indeed enabled the city commuters to have a sigh of relief. The scheme brought an uptick in the concept of ride sharing as well as carpooling, thereby reducing the pollution and traffic jams to a tremendous extent. The reason being, almost 50% of the vehicles got cut off from the roads. So this suggests that if all the four modes of transportation; Cars, bikes, taxis and autos are utilised properly, it can benefit everyone. Ride sharing platforms propagate the same idea.
When it comes to taking intercity trips, travelling can be heavy on the pockets if done via bus or flights. Although we can’t do much about the cost but we can utilise the existing resources to find a practical alternative. Once again ride sharing here can be extremely cost-effective for the commuters, bringing intercity travelling within the budget.
Moreover, ride sharing platforms appear to benefit people in multiple formats. They intend to pair people with like-minded riders for travelling and also help them in saving money while doing their bit to keep the environment clean. This eventually positively impacts the traffic and pollution scenario of a city. Keeping all these benefits in mind, ride sharing must be taken to the next level so that people can actually follow and use the concept in their daily commuting.
Factors leading to the slow progress of the ride sharing concept
We live in a country where social mores do not readily allow us to mingle with strangers. We tend to stay in our own comfort zone. Ride sharing has been an alternative mode of transportation in European countries & in western countries since a long time. In fact, people in those countries rely on ride sharing. But in India, public transport was never structured this way with ride sharing not even being perceived as a viable option. We cannot blame the people for such a mindset. In fact, there are a lot of cultural differences between India and the western countries.