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How car pool companies try to lure more passengers

March 24, 2014 12:55 IST

How car pool companies try to lure more passengers

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Reghu Balakrishnan in Mumbai

As online travel services pick up in India, car pooling services platforms are trying to keep up and lure more passengers.

RidingO, a Bengaluru-based car pooling services agency is shifting its focus from the mass to specific professional segments, such as information technology engineers, for instance.

In its latest initiative, RidingO is tying up with Electronic City in Bangalore to lure IT professionals to use car pooling.

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The image is used for representational purpose only


Image: An employee walks between parked Hyundai cars ready for shipment at a port in Chennai.
Photographs: Babu/Reuters

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Electronic City is one of the biggest tech park areas in India, with about 150,000 people coming daily in 10,000-15,000 cars, to work in 200 companies.

Major employers include Infosys, Wipro, HP and Siemens.

The new campaign is expected to enable RidingO, backed by Rajesh Sawhney, former president of Reliance Entertainment and founder of GSF Superangels, to reach out to more in a short span of time.

After Bengaluru, the firm plans entry into Mumbai and Delhi.

According to the promoters, RidingO helps people share empty seats inside their car while commuting between home and office, by using web and mobile technologies. RidingO was recently featured in Forbes as the hottest global start-up of 2013.

RidingO is supported by Nasscom’s 10,000 Start-ups programme and Rajesh Sawhney’s GSF Accelerator.

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Image: Infosys campus.
Photographs: Courtesy, Binoyjsdk/Wikimedia Commons

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Sawhney said, “One of the investment theses at GSF Accelerator is ‘Urban Tech’, which includes leveraging technology to solve urban transportation problems.

“We have made two investments in this space so far-Autowale in Pune and RidingO in Bengaluru.

“RidingO is creating a new mobile-supported car share model in Bengaluru.”

Adding: “We believe there is a huge potential in what RidingO is building.

“The RidingO team is trying a novel approach to solve the messy urban transportation situation in Bengaluru.

“They believe a ride share can be cost- efficient and fun.”

RidingO’s promoters point to appreciation from IT seniors Nandan Nilekani and Mohandas Pai, and Bangalore traffic  commissioner B Dayananda. Said Nilekani, “The average time people of Bangalore spend on the road in traffic is 30 minutes.

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Image: An Wipro employee.
Photographs: Reuters

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“The more we car-pool, the fewer the cars, and the more time and fuel money we will save.

“It will also help the planet. Every bit we do to reduce the pollution our city experiences, counts.”

The campaign started from March 11 in Electronic City and till now, a little  more than 3,000 people have checked the details online and a little more than 1,000 have registered, according to RidingO.

RidingO founder Vardhan Koshal said, “Cost sharing is generally awkward, even among friends. RidingO helps in removing this cash exchange awkwardness.

“Riders have to keep a prepaid balance with us, utilised to pay to the car owners through point transfer.

We take a small share out of this transfer.”

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The image is used for representational purpose only


Image: The more we car-pool, the fewer the cars, and the more time and fuel money we will save.
Photographs: Getty Images

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RidingO is looking at Mumbai and Delhi as its next targets.

“We will first make sure this works well in Bangalore and create a formidable impact here.

“There are many similar services which started but a lot of these shut down in some time. “A few are doing better but it’s too early to comment on competition when the market itself has not matured,” said Koshal.

Another Indian car pooling venture, FolksVagn is also targeting large corporate offices or buildings aiming at a large population.

FolksVagn provides services to Cyber City in Gurgaon, where 200,000 employees and 50,000 personal cars are driving in every day.

Commuteeasy.com, Taxeeta.com and Smart Mumbaikar offer similar services.


Image: There are many car pool services which started but a lot of these shut down in some time.
Photographs: Getty Images

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