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Quick Ride makes carpooling a hit; redBus joins the party

Geeta Nair

Car and bike pooling startup, Quick Ride, has hit the two-million-mark in terms of registered users on its platform, making it the largest carpooling network. Quick Ride has 6.5 lakh registered users in Bengaluru and three lakh in Chennai. It has reached the two-lakh-mark in Pune, making the city the third fastest growing market for Quick Ride.

The startup is also present in Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Kolkata and expanding further, hoping to reduce one million cars from the roads everyday and prevent at least 3,000 tonnes of carbon emission every day by 2020.

It is difficult to convince people to change their habits and share rides so while carpooling looks easy to do, scaling it up and actually implementing it is difficult, says KNM Rao, founder and CEO of Quick Ride. Carpooling aims at maximising the use of private vehicles already on the roads to reduce carbon footprint and congestion, adds Rao. His company has kept 90,000 cars away from the roads everyday through its carpooling network in nine cities, says Rao. "We are building a culture of carpooling and bigger the network, more the riders and better match-making between ride-givers and ride-takers," says Rao.

Quick Ride has tapped large IT companies to reach out to their employees and convince them to make the shift. It started with 3,000 registrations and 42 carpool rides a month in 2015 and has now crossed two million carpools per month thanks to the app which matches rides between ride-givers and ride-takers and helps people share the empty seats and share fuel costs. This is done through points systems with three points per kilometre shared.

Around 80% of the users are from the IT industry. It is currently carrying out a 'Go Green' campaign in Pune covering 50 companies there. These include Wipro, Cognizant, Capgemini, Infosys, IBM, Tech Mahindra, Mphasis, Syntel, HCL, Mastercard, Bajaj Allianz and in the IT hubs at Hinjewadi, Magarpatta City and Talwade.

Quick Ride has completed one million-plus cumulative carpools in Pune alone since kicking off the service 16 months ago. It now has over 30,000 daily active users and 7,000 carpools daily in Pune, with half of them women. In Bengaluru, it has achieved 50,000 carpools daily while in Chennai it is at 10,000.

While a few taxi aggregators also offer carpooling, it has not worked well as there is a lot of detours taken, and the distance traveled as well as time taken increases, he adds. The regulators are also frowning on these companies offering carpooling.

Online bus ticketing platform redBus recently launched rPool, its carpooling platform. Rpool is integrated inside the redBus mobile app. The carpooling service is being offered in Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. With a large existing base of users across the country, redBus is looking to scale the rPool proposition and positively impact quality of life, environment, and the economy.

Rpool is offering attractive incentives to ride-givers in the form of reward points that can be redeemed at fuel stations and Amazon Pay while ride-takers pay much less than autos/cabs for the same distance. According to Prakash Sangam, CEO, redBus, its carpooling service was a systematic solution, not only to decongest roads, but also offer commuters, a viable option that helps them save fuel and time. With the right implementation and adoption at scale, carpooling can significantly reduce vehicular traffic during peak hours in urban cities, says Sangam.

Chaitanya Kanuri, World Resources Institute India, says technology-enabled shared mobility solutions such as carpooling platforms have the potential to improve the efficiency and sustainability of urban transportation in our cities. By allowing three-four trips to be fulfilled by a single vehicle, carpooling can contribute to reduced congestion as well as lower GHG emissions and air pollution-for which transportation is a major source.