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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Carpooling is a 'Kool' way to commute

Carpooling is a 'Kool' way to commute

December 09, 2006 12:38 IST

Everyone in space starved Mumbai is aware of the horrors of travelling by public transport or rickety autorickshaws. Or rather about killing endless time commuting - and when a distance of 15 minutes actually now takes 45 minutes. Now, people can chose to put this experience firmly behind them and give thanks to an initiative by a non-governmental organisation, Mumbai Environmental Social Network or MESN.

MESN has set up a carpooling service called Koolpool, which is located in Mahim. According to Koolpool's - they did some surveys on Vehicle Occupancy Levels and discovered that the average occupancy of private vehicles was under two people per car! So, it makes sense to leave you cars behind sometimes and just share a ride with people going your way.

That's what Manish Joshi has done. All he does is SMS Sandeep, who takes the Borivli to Bandra route like himself. Sandeep pulls over at Kandivli to give him a ride. After a few pleasantaries and a quick ID check later, they are on their way to work. This carpool service allows ride-seekers and ride-givers to benefit from each other in a systemised manner.

Manish for one, is happy to leave his rickshaw days behind him. He told CNBC-TV18, "I'll probably be shelling Rs 1,200 per month, while earlier it was 2,500. I'm saving 50% and the comfort level is 500%."

This very fact seems to be the driving force behind Koolpool and here's how it works. Each member has to register at the office where an elaborate identification check is carried out. After registering, car owners and ride-seekers then team up according to a pre-decided route by SMS-ing each other or through chatrooms on the organisation's website.

Pooling in

  • Online registration
  • SMS & web interface
  • Automated payment
  • Credits used to obtain fuel through vouchers

With every ride, a token amount gets debited from the ride-seeker's account and credited to the  car owner's account. Now these credit points will be used by the owner to tank up at HPCL pumps through vouchers.

But the system has its flaws. Chief executive officer and founder, Koolpool, Joshua D'Souza says, "We need to attain a critical mass of 1,500 persons in an area, and only then will it work optimally."

However, for the moment, Sandip and Manish are content driving to work together. Well, at least till the time they hear from another member, taking their route.

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Aruna Ramesh,