Whenever I take an early morning flight, I call a Meru/Easycabs cab. My home, in Bangalore, is about 50 kilometers away from the Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL). Average cab fare is about Rs. 800. I see hundreds (if not more) of cabs going towards the airport in the morning…and most of them have a single occupant!
Now, I’m completely aware of things like privacy and city-centric worries on security, but I’m just wondering if an app would help in car pooling for longer distance, intra-city travel.
There are car pool sites in India (like CommuteEasy, that was started by a ThoughtWorks employee), but what I’m imagining works something like this.
- You book your cab via usual modes – phone/sms etc.
- You go the app interface – on Facebook/LinkedIn may be?; definitely not on an open network like Twitter, though – and enter your cab boarding time and destination.
- Alternatively, you can enter the time and destination you need.
- The app needs to match your need or your details (that you entered as booked time and destination) and gives you a list of people that may fit the same route and timing.
- You decide who you want to invite to share your cab!
- Mobile interface is perhaps a must, given how little time we usually have in between booking such rides and taking them.
- You value your privacy – pooling be damned. I understand. This app is not for you.
- Security is a massive issue. What if the guy I’m going to share the cab with is a nut…terrorist, etc.? Fair question. That is the reason why this is not a standalone site and is part of an existing, closed-user network like Facebook or LinkedIn. You choose who you want to share the ride with, based on your own judgement of their profiles…to whatever extent you can view those profiles on the network. If you see a decent enough profile, why not give it a try?
- Would cab brands like Easycabs and Meru agree to this? May not, initially. But, it’s your ride and you decide who you pick, on the way…not out of the way. They could eventually adopt this service, if it works efficiently, you know!
- Feasibility? I’m talking just about Bangalore – what if you include all metros and other leading cities in India? A few hundred users per day? Ideally, the app, as a service, needs no sustenance. It is user-run, after the initial launch. It will do as good…or bad, as users find benefits.
- Cab fee gets cut – this is the least of my concerns, however.
- Fuel is saved. A simple example: Two people traveling to catch the same damn flight in an almost similar route need not take 2 separate cabs. Personal issues of welcoming a stranger in my cab aside, there needs to be a sensible and simple option to make car pooling viable.
- Random advantage #1: taking social networking offline, for whatever its worth.
- Random advantage #2: choosing who you share your ride with and save cost and fuel at the same time. The choice may not work always, but at least you did something teeny-weeny for the environment!
I’m also aware that there is a Facebook app named ZimRide (app | site) that pretty much does what I’ve explained above (though I haven’t tried it yet). Not in India, though or…has limited Indian users. May be an India centric app, adopted/created by a fuel brand (HP?) or even an automobile brand could help in their CSR PR?